Analysis of two superbolides with a cometary origin observed over the Iberian Peninsula

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Madiedo, José M.
Ortiz, José L.
Trigo Rodríguez, Josep M.
Konovalova, Natalia
Castro Tirado, Alberto J.
Ocaña González, Francisco
Sánchez de Miguel, Alejandro
Izquierdo Gómez, Jaime
Cabrera Caño, Jesús
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Academic Press Inc. / Elsevier Science
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Among the most astonishing astronomical phenomena are the extremely bright bolides produced by the entry of large meteoroids into the Earth’s atmosphere. These events are rare and unexpected because current telescopic surveys are still missing meter-sized meteoroids, particularly those of dark nature and presumably cometary origin. In this work we present the analysis of two very bright fireballs of such origin recently observed over Spain. The first of these was recorded on September 25, 2010, while the second one took place on August 23, 2012. With an absolute magnitude of -18 and -17, respectively, these sporadic events fall within the superbolide category. Their atmospheric trajectory is calculated, together with the heliocentric orbit of the parent meteoroids. Other physical properties of these particles are estimated, such as their preatmospheric mass and tensile strength. The emission spectrum recorded for one of these events is also discussed. Our analysis indicates that none of these superbolides was a meteoritedropping event. From their orbital parameters, a cometary nature for the parent meteoroids is inferred.
© 2014 Elsevier Inc. We acknowledge support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Projects AYA2009-13227, AYA2009-10368, AYA2011-26522, AYA2009-06330-E, AYA2011-30106-C02-01) and Junta de Andalucía (Project P09-FQM-4555). We also thank the AstroHita Foundation for its continuous support in the operation of the meteor observing station located at La Hita Astronomical Observatory.