Twilight – In the few hours before dawn on July 14, dozens of stunning meteors blasted across the clear starry sky over Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
The event was broadcast live to hundreds of people around the world from the Sky Camera Subaru-Asahi. https://twitter.com/SubaruTel_Eng/status/1422730620845760515?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%584t57w512%730620 5E% 7Ctwcon% 5Es1_c10 & ref_url = https% 3A% 2F% 2Farabic.rt.com% 2Fspace% 2F1259085-D8A8D8AB-D985D8A8D8A7D8B4D8B1-D98AD8B1D8B5D8AF-D8B8D8A7D987D8B1D8A9-D986D98AD8B2D983D98AD8A9-D985D8A8D987D8B1D8A9-D988D986D8A7D8AFD8B1D8A9-D981D98A-D8B3D985D8A7D8A1-D987D8A7D988D8A7D98A% 2F
“At first I thought it was just a series of small meteors, but when I checked the account twice, I was amazed to notice that several small meteors were visible coming from the same direction at the same time,” said one of the live broadcasters, who calls himself Fukuro (Night Owl).
At 3:58 a.m. local time (Hawaii time), these meteors were pouring out from the same point in the sky within 10 seconds. This is not the normal pattern observed during meteor showers, which usually appear randomly in our skies when Earth sweeps through orbit from the remnants of a comet’s tail.”
The sensational online discussion of the phenomenon caught the attention of Subaru Telescope’s camera director, Ichi Tanaka, who contacted the astronomers who are now analyzing the data.
“The scientific significance of capturing such a rare phenomenon is very great, and it is especially important because the total duration of the event was longer than in previous cases,” said planetary scientist Junichi Watanabe, deputy director of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.
He continued, “The fact that the camera was located in Mauna Kea, one of the best observation sites in the world, was also a major factor in capturing such a rare event as well as recent developments in camera technology.”
Only a handful of these meteorites have been documented since the phenomenon was first identified in 1997, including one captured earlier this year by the University of Arizona’s camera systems in San Diego. That group of seven meteorites occurred within 3 seconds of each other.
Watanabe described an explanatory mechanism for this type of meteorite clustering with colleagues in 2003, based on evidence from Leonid meteor showers.
The researchers calculated that for these tiny pieces of space rock to seep into our skies so close together in timing and distance, they must have an unrealistically small difference in velocity between them, if they crash directly or shortly after separating from the comet.
Instead, they concluded, this type of clustering could likely be explained by the fragmentation of meteorites orbiting the Sun before they reached Earth. The fault is likely to be caused by the excess heat it experiences at perihelion (closest to the Sun), which should occur approximately every 33 years for Leonids.
The information recently captured by the Subaru telescope may help explain this, and may provide more structural information about meteorites orbiting us.
Source: Science Alert
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