Meteoroid Fragmentation from High-Resolution Observations

Supervisor: Dr. Margaret Campbell-Brown

Project Description (Abstract):

It is very difficult to determine the structure of small (cm to mm sized) pieces of comets and asteroids striking the Earth, because they are destroyed very rapidly in the atmosphere. The strength and structure of meteoroids is particularly interesting, since they allow us to sample a wide range of small bodies we otherwise cannot reach. The Canadian Automated Meteor Observatory includes a tracking system which observes small meteoroids ablating in the atmosphere at a resolution of the order of meters, allowing details of fragmentation to be observed.

The project will use data from thousands of tracked meteors to characterize how and under what circumstances meteoroids fragment, and use these observations to draw conclusions about the structure of meteoroids.