The 2011 October Draconids outburst - II. Meteoroid chemical abundances from fireball spectroscopy

Madiedo, José M.; Trigo-Rodríguez, Josep M.; Konovalova, Natalia; Williams, Iwan P.; Castro-Tirado, Alberto J.; Ortiz, José L.; Cabrera-Caño, Jesús
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 433, Issue 1, p.571-580 (2013).


On 2011 October 8, the Earth crossed dust trails ejected from comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner in the late 19th and early 20th Century. This gave rise to an outburst in the activity of the October Draconid meteor shower, and an international team was organized to analyse this event. The SPanish Meteor Network (SPMN) joined this initiative and recorded the October Draconids by means of low-light level CCD cameras. In addition, spectroscopic observations were carried out. Tens of multistation meteor trails were recorded, including an extraordinarily bright October Draconid fireball (absolute magnitude -10.5) that was simultaneously imaged from three SPMN meteor observing stations located in Andalusia. Its spectrum was obtained, showing a clear evolution in the relative intensity of emission lines as the fireball penetrated deeper into the atmosphere. Here, we focus on the analysis of this remarkable spectrum, but also discuss the atmospheric trajectory, atmospheric penetration and orbital data computed for this bolide which was probably released during 21P/Giacobini-Zinner return to perihelion in 1907. The spectrum is discussed together with the tensile strength for the October Draconid meteoroids. The chemical profile evolution of the main rocky elements for this extremely bright bolide is compared with the elemental abundances obtained for five October Draconid fireballs also recorded during our spectroscopic campaign but observed only at a single station. Significant chemical heterogeneity between the small meteoroids is found as we should expect for cometary aggregates being formed by diverse dust components.