Journal Article

On the possible ejection of meteoroids from asteroid (3200) Phaethon in 2009

G. O. Ryabova

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 423, issue 3, pages 2254-2259
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.21033.x
On the possible ejection of meteoroids from asteroid (3200) Phaethon in 2009

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Asteroid (3200) Phaethon is the supposed parent body for the Geminid meteoroid stream and previously it has never shown any trace of activity. However, it doubled its brightness unexpectedly and sharply in 2009 June. This short outburst could imply that an ejection of dust particles had taken place. We have modelled this dust ejection and the subsequent evolution of the meteoroid swarm, with the aim of determining whether the dust could be observed as meteors on Earth in the near future. We also wish to determine whether the outburst activity can be distinguished from the activity of the main shower. We have found that the model dust swarm is slowly approaching Earth and that it will enter the Earth’s influence sphere (<0.03 au) in 2014. The minimum distance between particles and the Earth will be at least 0.015 au until 2050. Therefore, it will be possible to observe the resulting meteors, but the probability of the event is small. The outburst in the Geminid’s activity as a result of this swarm might take place at λ= 262°.5 (i.e. after the main Geminid’s maximum). To exceed the usual level of activity, the mass of the 2009 swarm should exceed ∼108 kg. The radiation area of the model outburst meteors is a small spot: α≈ 114°.65 ± 2°.5, δ≈ 32°.7 ± 0°.1.

Keywords: methods: numerical; minor planets, asteroids: individual (3200) Phaethon; meteorites, meteors, meteoroids

Journal Article.  4504 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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