Frequency of hyperbolic and interstellar meteoroids

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Abstract

Hyperbolic meteor orbits from the catalog of 64,650 meteors observed by the multistation video meteor network located in Japan (SonotaCo 2009) have been investigated with the aim of determining the relation between the frequency of hyperbolic and interstellar meteors. The proportion of hyperbolic meteors in the data decreased significantly (from 11.58% to 3.28%) after a selection of quality orbits, which shows its dependence on the quality of observations. Initially, the hyperbolic orbits were searched for meteors unbound due to planetary perturbation. It was determined that 22 meteors from the 7489 hyperbolic orbits in the catalog (and 2 from the selection of the orbits with the highest quality) had had a close encounter with a planet, none of which, however, produced essential changes in their orbits. Similarly, the fraction of hyperbolic orbits in the data, which could be hyperbolic by reason of a meteor's interstellar origin, was determined to be at most 3.9 × 10−2. From the statistical point of view, the vast majority of hyperbolic meteors in the database have definitely been caused by inaccuracy in the velocity determination. This fact does not necessarily assume great measurement errors, since, especially near the parabolic limit, a small error in the value of the heliocentric velocity of a meteor can create an artificial hyperbolic orbit that does not really exist. The results show that the remaining 96% of meteoroids with apparent hyperbolic orbits belong to the solar system meteoroid population. This is also supported by their high abundance (about 50%) among the meteor showers.

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