Meteor Showers

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bdewoody

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With the Leonids just around the corner a question occurred to me. Is there any possibility that a dangerous sized rock could be hiding in the debris field of any of the regular meteor showers? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <em><font size="2">Bob DeWoody</font></em> </div>
 
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newtonian

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bdewoody - I don't know.<br /><br />I suspect that a rock large enoiugh to kill a person iif he(she) was hit on the head with it is very possible - though that scenario is quite unlikely.<br /><br />I have heard of relatively small meteorites crashing through house rooves and through car trunks - this size I believe would be hard to detect.<br /><br />A catastrophic rock that would destroy a city or cause a devastating tsunami, on the other hand, would be easier to detect within a well-known meteor shower 'cloud' - I think. I do not know however.<br /><br />Obviously, the querstion that would be coupled with this is: what size rocks can we detect - would we be able to miss a dangerous rock in a studied area where meteor showers propagate from?<br /><br />Hopefully other posters will post informative answers.<br /><br />If not, I will research it this weekend when I have more time.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Is it possible, yes, anything is possible.<br />However, meteor showers are cometary debris, and to my knowledge, there has never been a meteorite from the major showers. In addition to the cometary source material, the other factor is the tremendous velocity that these particles approach us. <br />The Leonids have the highest approach speed, 71 km/s (~45 miles/sec), the Perseids 59 km/sec, and the two Halley's comet showers (Orionids, this weekend, and eta Aquarids in May, 66 km/sec). Any large object hitting the atmosphere at this speed will be shattered like hitting a brick wall.<br /><br />The other two major showers are more interesting from this perspective. The Quadrantids (Jan 3-4) hit at a slower speed (41 km/s) and the source is from a comet that does not travel in the plane of the solar system, with a long period, so less is known about it.<br />The Geminids (Dec 13/14) source is what is thought to be a degassed comet, currently known as asteroid 3200 Phaetheon, and this shower does have larger particles than most cometary showers. The atmospheric impact speed is only 35 km/sec, similar to most asteroids, which do produce meteorites that reach the ground (other asteroids that is, not the Geminids so far.) This allows an object to penetrate deeper into the atmosphere before it is shattered.<br /><br />Finally, there are a few SUSPECTED minor showers that may have produced impactors. One possibility is that the 1908 Tunguska event may be part of such a shower.<br /><br />A recent study (WGN 34:4) has concluded in addition, the Tagish Lake, Innisfree and Peekskill meteorites may me associated with meteorite streams. However, these are not associated with meteor showers.<br /><br />So, in conclusion, it's safe to watch the Orionids and Leonids without a hard hat!<br /><br />MeteorWayne <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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