Journal Article

The outburst of the κ Cygnids in 2007: clues about the catastrophic break up of a comet to produce an Earth-crossing meteoroid stream

Josep M. Trigo-Rodriguez, José M. Madiedo, Iwan P. Williams and Alberto J. Castro-Tirado

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 392, issue 1, pages 367-375
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.14060.x
The outburst of the κ Cygnids in 2007: clues about the catastrophic break up of a comet to produce an Earth-crossing meteoroid stream

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Using high-resolution, low-scan-rate, all-sky CCD cameras and high-level CCD video cameras, the SPanish Meteor and fireball Network (SPMN) recorded the 2007 κ Cygnid fireball outburst from several observing stations. Here, accurate trajectory, radiant and orbital data obtained for the κ Cygnid meteor are presented. The typical astrometric uncertainty is 1–2 arcmin, while velocity determination errors are of the order of 0.3–0.6 km s−1, though this depends on the distance of each event to the station and its particular viewing geometry. The observed orbital differences among 1993 and 2007 outbursts support the hypothesis that the formation of this meteoroid stream is a consequence of the fragmentation of a comet nucleus. Such disruptive process proceed as a cascade, where the break up of the progenitor body leads to produce small remnants, some fully disintegrate into different clumps of particles and other remaining as dormant objects such as 2008ED69, 2001MG1 and 2004LA12 which are now observed as near-Earth asteroids. In addition to the orbital data, we present a unique spectrum of a bright κ Cygnid fireball revealing that the main rocky components have chondritic abundances, and estimations of the tensile strength of those fireballs that exhibited a catastrophic disruption behaviour. All this evidence of the structure and composition of the κ Cygnid meteoroids is consistent with being composed by fine-grained materials typically released from comets.

Keywords: comets: general; meteors, meteoroids; minor planets, asteroids

Journal Article.  5972 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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