Interplanetary Particles and Noctilucent Clouds

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  • 1 Institute of Planetary and Space Science, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
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Abstract

The equation of motion of a small spherical particle, entering the earth's atmosphere with cosmic velocities, has been integrated numerically. The results show that particles in the size range 0.1-100 μ attain terminal velocities around 80-100 km altitude where noctilucent clouds are observed. Results of a rocket collection experiment indicate that the high g loads experienced by the larger particles during their entry into the atmosphere, may cause fragmentation and thus further increase the small particle population in that region.

Abstract

The equation of motion of a small spherical particle, entering the earth's atmosphere with cosmic velocities, has been integrated numerically. The results show that particles in the size range 0.1-100 μ attain terminal velocities around 80-100 km altitude where noctilucent clouds are observed. Results of a rocket collection experiment indicate that the high g loads experienced by the larger particles during their entry into the atmosphere, may cause fragmentation and thus further increase the small particle population in that region.

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