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RE: (meteorobs) meteor speed



There are three factors which combine to create a meteor's starting speed 
in the atmosphere. The minimum speed is around 11 kilometers per 
second...this is due solely to the earth's gravity. A particle that has a 
speed of zero relative to the earth, will be drawn in by gravity until it 
is traveling just over 11kps when it reaches meteor height (~100km). The 
second factor is the particle's motion around the sun, and can range up to 
42 kps at the earth's orbital distance. Anything moving faster is not in 
orbit around the sun, and is either passing through the solar system or has 
been accelerated by interaction with a solar system object and is on it's 
way out. These are VERY rare. Meteor shower particles must be in orbit, 
since we pass them as our orbits intersect each year. Finally there is the 
earth's motion around the sun..we are moving around 30 kps in our own 
orbit, so we are adding our own motion to that of the particle around the 
sun. So showers with slow speeds (< 30 kps) are catching up to us from 
behind. Meanwhile, the fastest showers, such as the leonids, are moving at 
high speed in a retrograde orbit (opposite that of the earth) and smash 
into our windshield (the atmosphere) at the highest speed. (~72 kps). (BTW, 
the theoretical fastest speed is not 72+30+11 kps, rather it is about 72.9 
kps...the speeds are not added directly....it is the square root of the sum 
of the squares....to explain it simply, a particle moving 72 kps has less 
time to be accelerated and only reaches 73, whil a particle whose speed is 
zero has lots of time to be accelrated by gravity so winds up at 11 kps)

Hope this helps

Wayne
NJAA

----------
From: 	Vink[SMTP:pentium@tm.net.my]
Sent: 	Sunday, June 20, 1999 8:47 AM
To: 	meteorobs@jovian.com
Subject: 	(meteorobs) meteor speed

What cause the meteor's speed? Why different meteor shower got various
speed?

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