A LABORATORY INVESTIGATION OF METEOR PHYSICS
UTAH UNIV SALT LAKE CITY HIGH VELOCITY LAB
Pagination or Media Count:
Equations of motion for a single particle traveling in a constant density atmosphere are derived. The aerodynamic drag on the particle and the atmosphere-particle energy transfer resulting in loss of particle mass are considered. It is assumed as an initial condition that steady-state ablation is occurring. Emphasis is placed on determining particle size and absolute luminosity from measurements of distance versus time. Micron-size particles, which travel at velocities in lower meteor range of 10 to 20 kmsec, are produced by impact of spherical steel pellets on a steel target. The leading edge of a cloud of particles was detected and velocities to 15 kmsec were measured. By applying the theory to deceleration measurements, the size of the particles was estimated at approximately 1.0 micron diameter. An improved vacuum firing range was designed to correct for the vacuum and size limitations. An experiment is proposed to utilize the improved system to detect and measure individual particles. Data from the experiments can be compared with theory and the results applied directly to determine in detail the physical phenomena occurring in meteor flight.