Roberto Gorelli points our attention at a recently published meteor related paper:

Dynamical study of Geminid formation assuming a rotational instability scenario

This article has been submitted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics by Hangbin Jo and Masateru Ishiguro.

Context. Various ideas have been proposed to explain the formation of the Geminid meteoroid stream from the asteroid (3200) Phaethon. However, little has been studied about the Geminid formation based on the assumption that mass ejection happened from this asteroid via rotational instability.
Aims. Here, we present the first dynamical study of the Geminid formation, taking account of low-velocity mass ejection as a result of Phaethon’s rotational instability.
Methods. We conducted numerical simulations for 1 mm and 1 cm particles ejected in a wide range of ejection epochs (103–105 years ago). We computed the minimum orbital intersecting distance (MOID) of the dust particles as the realistic condition, that is, the Earth’s radius and the Earth-Moon distance to be observed as the Geminid meteoroid stream.
Results. We found that the low-velocity ejection model produced the Geminid-like meteoroid stream when the dust particles were ejected more than ∼2000 years ago. In this case, close encounters with terrestrial planets would transport some dust particles from the Phaethon orbit (the current MOID is as large as ∼460 Earth radius) to the Earth-intersecting orbits. The optimal ejection epoch and the estimated mass were 18000 years ago and ∼ 1010 − 1014 g (<0.1 % of the Phaethon mass).
Conclusions. Our results suggest that the JAXA’s DESTINY+ mission has the potential to find evidence of recent rotational instability recorded on the Phaethon’s surface.


You can download this paper for free: (14 pages).


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