Leonids 1996: outburst activity

A broad structure and a first occurrence of a narrow peak of fainter meteors

Meteoritics & Planetary Science 34 (1999)
Meteoritical Society, 1999. Printed in USA.

Marco Langbroek

Author's correspondence address: Jan Steenlaan 46, NL-2251 JH Voorschoten, the Netherlands; e-mail address: marcolan@stad.dsl.nl

In 1996, a broad outburst structure of bright Leonid meteors similar to the 1995 and the 1994 displays (Jenniskens 1996; Langbroek 1996b) was observed. In addition, a second narrow outburst structure of fainter meteors, which will be reported and discussed in this paper, has with certainty been observed. This observation marks the first detection of such a narrow structure in the new series of Leonid outbursts. It has a similar exponential activity behaviour and similar emphasis on fainter meteors as shown by the 1866 and 1966 Leonid storm structures. Similar narrow peaks have been observed in 1965 and 1969 (Jenniskens 1995, 1996).

The broad 1996 structure of bright meteors peaked at November 17.31 0.04 (l 235.28 0.04 (2000.0)). The additional narrow structure peaked at November 17.20 0.01 (l 235.172 0.007). The occurrence of the narrow peak can best be explained as a first modest sign of presence of the meteoroid structure that should be responsible for the expected meteor storm activity of the Leonids in 1998–1999. The appearance 0.085 before the node of 55P/Tempel-Tuttle suggests that the expected 1998–1999 Leonid storms might peak just before passage through the node of the comet.

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