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Simultaneous dual-frequency observations of meteor head echoes using ALTAIR

Close, Sigrid 1, Hunt, Stephen 1, Oppenheim, Meers 1, Mckeen, Fred1
Affiliation data not available1

Document details

Publishing year2001 PublisherESA Publishing typeConference Name of conference3rd European Conference on Space Debris
Pagesn/a Volume
H. Lacoste


We present a sample of radar meteors detected during the November 1998 Leonid shower that were collected using the ARPA Long Range Tracking and Instrumentation Radar (ALTAIR) at 160 and 422 MHz. A total of 900 VHF and 500 UHF head echoes were collected near the peak of the shower; these data produced a detection rate of approximately 1 VHF head echo every 2 seconds, which is the highest rate recorded by any sensor. These data were analyzed to determine frequency-dependent radar cross-section (RCS) and true 3-D velocity, as well as altitude and aspect angle trends. These data are the first to reveal that the shape and strength of the head echo varies as a function of detection angle. In addition, the azimuth and elevation data were used to compute the deceleration as a function of time, which can be utilized to compute the radius/density of the meteoroid itself. The majority of these meteoroids had mass ranges between 10-6 and 10-3 grams and diameters less than 2 mm.