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Tough Meteor Question

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#1 CygnuS

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:33 PM

I was observing with my 10 inch Dob a week ago (w/26 MM eyepiece)  and noticed a quick dim streak zip by and I'm sure it was a meteor since satellites don't go through an eyepiece that fast. It was probably 11th magnitude. It made me wonder. If we had eyes that could only see meteors that were mag 11 or brighter how many would we see an hour? What if we could see meteors as dim as mag 20? Of course the answer would vary...likely more now that the Perseids are active.

I don't really expect an answer to those questions but I wonder if anybody knows an answer to this...Does even the tiniest piece of cosmic dust that falls in emit a streak? (even if it is a mag 100...lol) 


Edited by CygnuS, 15 August 2019 - 10:39 PM.


#2 Napp

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:47 PM

The answer is YES.  If your eyes could see much dimmer magnitudes you could see many more meteors.  That’s why observers often travel to sites with darker skies to observe meteor showers.  It’s also why meteor observers prefer nights where the moon is not up.  For example, the recent Perseids were a bit disappointing because the moon interfered.


Edited by Napp, 15 August 2019 - 10:47 PM.

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#3 TOMDEY

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:49 PM

Cool! Yes, I've noticed that, too.

 

Hypothesis: Meteor counts increase with magnitude limit, but peter out, depending on the age of the stream (and other parametrics). Proposed Mechanism would be that the Solar Wind blows out the smaller, lighter particles, leaving the heavier ones. Sort of like panning for gold. With time, only the bigger nuggets are left in the pan; the pan being the earth's orbit where it plows through the (remaining) stream.

 

I can see where that could easily qualify for an astronomy PhD thesis topic, comprising both theory and experiment/observation. The theory would be junk like orbital mechanics, solar wind, particulate chemistry, atmospheric interaction... The data collection would be junk like intensified camera images of meteors and rainwater magnetic and filter collects of "micrometeorite" particles.    Tom

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#4 Rich V.

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:51 PM

Does even the tiniest piece of cosmic dust that falls in emit a streak? 

 

I can't say about the tiniest spec of dust leaving a trail, but a great meteor shower under dark skies will show pink trails following each meteor that can be quite a spectacular sight. 

 

The 2001 Leonids come to mind; the best I've observed in my lifetime.  I held up my 16x70 binoculars for a while and just let the meteors pass through the 4° FOV every few seconds.  Each meteor seen, bright or faint, left a scintillating pink trail hanging in the sky behind it that gave me an experience I'll never forget.

 

Rich


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#5 Barlowbill

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:57 AM

Last night I saw a nice big green on headed toward the southwest from my back yard in Tulsa.  Pretty good size one.  I have read that most of what we see are quite small.  Like dust particles.



#6 Littlegreenman

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:39 AM

Watching a Perseid shower circa 1992-3? at about 5,000 feet on Angeles Crest Hwy NE of Los Angeles. This was my first major meteor shower trek (along with about a million Angelinos....well. It a 30 mile traffic jam.

It was obvious the meteors were much closer than the stars behind them. Also, larger trails displayed detail, micro-variation, and 3-dimensionality. 4 dimensions if you count the changes over time (Time, the 4th dimension, at least that's what I learned from the 1950's movie The Time Machine.)

It would be interesting to plot decreasing size of the particles and decreasing time before total evaporation. But since the speed varies with the position of the particle, the motion of the particle etc., etc. another variable.


Edited by Littlegreenman, 16 August 2019 - 01:41 AM.


#7 TOMDEY

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 03:26 AM

I can't say about the tiniest spec of dust leaving a trail, but a great meteor shower under dark skies will show pink trails following each meteor that can be quite a spectacular sight. 

The 2001 Leonids come to mind; the best I've observed in my lifetime.  I held up my 16x70 binoculars for a while and just let the meteors pass through the 4° FOV every few seconds.  Each meteor seen, bright or faint, left a scintillating pink trail hanging in the sky behind it that gave me an experience I'll never forget.

Rich

Yes! I recroded that using image-intensified video, and wrote a paper on it. Here are a few pages from that.  >>>    Tom

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#8 goodricke1

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 04:48 AM

It's estimated that 30,000 tons of meteoritic dust falls on the Earth every day. That's a lot of meteors if you could see them all.



#9 TOMDEY

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 07:44 PM

It's estimated that 30,000 tons of meteoritic dust falls on the Earth every day. That's a lot of meteors if you could see them all.

You probably meant 30,000 Kg? I think most estimates come in around 40-50 tons/day. But, regardless, one of these days... if it comes in as just one meteorite!    Tom

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#10 CygnuS

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:51 AM

It's estimated that 30,000 tons of meteoritic dust falls on the Earth every day. That's a lot of meteors if you could see them all.

It's amazing that they don't show up more often in the long CCD exposures of the largest earth-based telescopes but obviously they are nowhere near bright enough. It makes me wonder what magnitude dust is when it falls in. 



#11 goodricke1

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 02:06 PM

You probably meant 30,000 Kg? I think most estimates come in around 40-50 tons/day. But, regardless, one of these days... if it comes in as just one meteorite!    Tom

 

Yep my mistake, up to 30,000 tons per year -

 

https://www.nhm.ac.u...-dust-hunt.html




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