The Meteoroid Environment from Optical Observations

Supervisor: Dr. Margaret Campbell-Brown

Project Description (Abstract):

From a practical standpoint, the number, size and speed of meteoroids striking the Earth every day is important to characterizing the risk they pose to spacecraft. From a scientific standpoint, the meteoroid environment gives clues to the properties and distribution of comets and asteroids in near-Earth space over the last few tens of thousands of years. Optical observations have advantages over radar and other meteor observations, but still suffer observing biases, including observations restricted to the night side of the Earth and greater sensitivity to faster, brighter objects. These biases must be thoroughly characterized in order to understand the true size and speed distributions of meteoroids.

This project will use five years of optical data collected since 2011, and investigate the effects of each observing bias on the measured distribution.