2011 Draconids exploitation workshop

Organisateur :

Date prévue : 11-14 Mars 2013
Date définitive : 2013-03-11

Organisateurs : Jeremie Vaubaillon (IMCCE), François Colas (IMCCE)

On 8 October 2011, the Draconids meteor shower showed an exceptional outburst, with more than 300 meteors per hour observable in the sky. This exceptional event was forecasted by researchers of Paris Observatory (Vaubaillon et al., 2012). For the occasion, the first European airborne meteor observation campaign was organized by the PI (of this proposal). This campaign was supported on the French side by the CSA, encouraged by a positive report from Paris observatory scientific Council. In addition, in order to triangulate the 3-D trajectory of the meteors, as well as to derive the fragility and the bulk density of these comets grains, another research aircraft and was asked to the EUFAR European organization. Dr. Pavel Koten was the PI of this scientific airplane. As a consequence, two Falcons aircraft, one belonging to the French SAFIRE lab (owned by INSU, CNES and Meteo France and based in Francazal), and one belonging to the German DLR flew together for the four hours of the observation run. This observation trip was a success, with several hundreds of meteors successfully recorded by 20 different instruments onboard the two aircraft !

One year after the events, the scientific results are still being analyzed. One of the reason that it takes so long is that the usual meteor detection tools, based on the detection of movements in the field of view of the camera are completely inefficient in a moving plane ! As a consequence, every researcher had to visually inspect the four hours of observation taken by each camera, and manually extract the meteor when it appears. Similarly, special tools have been developed in order to measure the position of the meteor with respect to the stars on each image frame. Such long (and painful !) process are now performed and the real scientific analysis can now take place.

However, in order to fully exploit the data, the measurements of the same meteor from the two different planes have to be taken into account, in order to, for example, triangulate the 3-D trajectory of the meteor. Similarly, in order to retrieve the bulk density of the particle, or in order to derive the fragility of the grain, an estimate of the atmospheric density is needed. Such density is only available in an accurate way through the 3-D measurements of the position of the meteor. And this requires more than just data exchange : reduction methods have to be compared and tested.

But this is not all. The advantage of organizing this first European airborne campaign is the occasion to provide Europe with the experience and the expertise of such observation means. This creates a perfect synergy between the researchers of different European countries. In other words, by putting all the researchers together, everyone learns from his neighbor, for both technical and scientific purposes.