Skip to main content
The 2011 Draconids: the first European airborne meteor observation campaign
Earth, Moon, and Planets
  • Jeremie Vaubaillon, IMCCE
  • Pavel Koten, Astronomical Institute, ASCR
  • Anastasios Margonis, University of Berlin
  • Juraj Toth, Comenius University
  • Regina Rudawska, Comenius University
  • Maria Gritsevich, Ural Federal University
  • Joe Zender, SRE-S (Scientific Support Office, European Space Agency
  • Jonathan McAuliffe
  • Pierre-Dominique Pautet, Utah State University
  • Peter Jenniskens, SETI Institute
  • Detlef Koschny, SRE-S (Scientific Support Office, European Space Agency
  • Francois Colas, IMCCE
  • Sylvain Bouley, University Paris-Sud
  • Lucie Maquet, IMCCE
  • Arnaud Leroy, Unranoscope d’Ile de France
  • Jean Lecacheux, Observatoire de Paris
  • Jiri Borovicka, Astronomical Institute, ASCR
  • Jürgen Oberst, University of Berlin
  • J. Watanabe, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
Document Type
Springer Verlag
Publication Date
On 8 October 2011, the Draconid meteor shower (IAU #8#8 , DRA) was predicted to cause two brief outbursts of meteors, visible from locations in Europe. For the first time, a European airborne meteor observation campaign was organized, supported by ground-based observations. Two aircraft were deployed from Kiruna, Sweden, carrying six scientists, 19 cameras and eight crew members. The flight geometry was chosen such that it was possible to obtain double-station observations of many meteors. The instrument setup on the aircraft as well as on the ground is described in full detail. The main peak from 1900-dust ejecta happened at the predicted time and at the predicted rate. The second peak was observed from the earlier flight and from the ground, and was caused most likely by trails ejected in the nineteenth century. A total of 250 meteors were observed, for which light curve data were derived. The trajectory, velocity, deceleration and orbit of 35 double station meteors were measured. The magnitude distribution index was high, as a result of which there was no excess of meteors near the horizon. The light curve proved to be extremely flat on average, which was unexpected. Observations of spectra allowed us to derive the compositional information of the Draconids meteoroids and showed an early release of sodium, usually interpreted as resulting from fragile meteoroids. Lessons learned from this experience are derived for future airborne meteor shower observation campaigns.
Citation Information
Vaubaillon J., Koten P., Margonis A., Toth J., Rudawska R., Gritsevich M., Zender J., McAuliffe J., Pautet P.-D., Jenniskens P., Koschny D., Colas F., Bouley S., Maquet L., Leroy A., Lecacheux J., Borovicka J., Watanabe J., and Oberst J., The 2011 Draconids: the first European airborne meteor observation campaign, Earth Moon and Planets, 114, 137-157, doi :10.1007/s11038-014-9455-5, 2015