Spectrum of a Leonid meteor train

The pictures below show the evolution and the spectrum of a persistent meteor train produced by a Leonid fireball which occurred on November 17, 2001 at 12:57 UT. The data were obtained by Jiri Borovicka at the Mt Lemmon Observatory, Arizona, USA, with an image intensified video camera equipped with an objective spectral grating (slitless spectroscopy). Both the zero order (direct image) and the first order spectra are shown.

At the beginning, the train luminosity is dominated by the lines of magnesium and sodium. The lines gradually decay, while, at the same time, an unidentified yellow continuum still brightens, in particular in a bright spot at the train. Later, the train diffeses and the surface brightness decreases. Javor Kac obtained a photographic sequence of this train, which nicely shows the bluish color of the upper part of the train at the beginning. This spectrum shows that the color is mainly due by the blue line(s) of Mg.

Prepared by Jiri Borovicka, Ondrejov Observatory, Czech Republic on November 26, 2001, updated Dec 14.
Reproduction of the pictures allowed only with the permission from the author.