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Astron. Astrophys. 322, 687-695 (1997)

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Radar observations of the Leonids: 1964-1995

P. Brown 1, M. imek 2 and J. Jones 1

1 Department of Physics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 3K7 Canada
(e-mail: peter@danlon.physics.uwo.ca, e-mail: jimmeteor@uwovax.uwo.ca)
2 Astronomical Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences, CZ-25165 Ondejov, Czech Republic (e-mail: simek@asu.cas.cz)

Received 16 April 1996 / Accepted 15 November 1996


Activity of the Leonid meteor stream is analyzed from radar data collected in the Czech Republic over a 30-year interval and Canada from 1964-1967. The shower shows pronounced activity during the 1964-1967 time period, with large meteoroids abundant in the 1965 shower. The filament causing the 1966 Leonid storm is present in 1965, but absent in 1967. The mean activity of the shower during the interval 1970-1993 is found to be near or below the level of the sporadic background. The 1994 and 1995 showers were well above the mean activity of the 1970-1993 period and displayed heightened activity for at least one full day near maximum during each return. A re-analysis of the 1966 Leonid storm from radar records shows the radar flux profile to have a Gaussian shape and suggests a lower limit for the peak corrected flux for meteoroids brighter than magnitude +6.8 of 39 [FORMULA] 2 km-2  hour-1 using s =2.0 in agreement with visual observations which reported a peak ZHR of [FORMULA] 150 000 at the time of the shower maximum.

Key words: Leonids – meteoroids – Radar – astronomy – Comets: individual: 55P/Tempel-Tuttle

Send offprint requests to: P. Brown


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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: June 5, 1998