A self-consistent method for the simulation of meteor trails with an application to radio observations

F. Bariselli, S. Boccelli, B. Dias, A. Hubin, T. E. Magin

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Context. Radio-based techniques allow for a meteor detection of 24 h. Electromagnetic waves are scattered by the electrons produced by the ablated species colliding with the incoming air. As the electrons dissipate in the trail, the received signal decays. The interpretation of these measurements entails complex physical modelling of the flow. Aims. In this work, we present a procedure to compute extensive meteor trails in the rarefied segment of the trajectory. This procedure is a general and standalone methodology, which provides meteor physical parameters at given trajectory conditions, without the need to rely on phenomenological lumped models. Methods. We started from fully kinetic simulations of the evaporated gas that describe the nonequilibrium in the flow and the ionisation collisions experienced by metals in their encounter with air molecules. These simulations were employed as initial conditions for performing detailed chemical and multicomponent diffusion calculations of the extended trail, in order to study the processes which lead to the extinction of the plasma. In particular, we focused on the evolution of the trail generated by a 1 mm meteoroid flying at 32 km s-1, above 80 km. We retrieved the ambipolar diffusion coefficient and the electron line density and compared the outcome of our computations with classical results and observational fittings. Finally, the electron field was employed to estimate the resulting reflected signal, using classical radio-echo theory for underdense meteors. Results. A global and constant diffusion coefficient is sufficient to reproduce numerical profiles. A good agreement is found when we compare the extracted diffusion coefficients with theory and observations.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's16
TijdschriftAstronomy & astrophysics
StatusPublished - 16 sep 2020

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