persistent train of a quadrantid meteor

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Date:04.01.2011 Time:00:25-0:45 UT, 6s interval
Exposure:200 x 5s Field:33o x 19o
Camera:Nikon D3 Optics:50mm, f/1.4
Place:Sternwarte Zollern-Alb,
Rosenfeld-Brittheim, Germany
Observer:Till Credner

© copyright: the sky in

A bright meteor of the Quadrantid shower was caught at 0:31:54 UT (+5s exposure). A persistent train can be traced for about ten minutes and maybe even more. It is a self luminous remnant of the meteor, i.e. the meteors deposit of material and energy in the air of the upper atmosphere.

Initial train movement
It seems that high winds torn the train apart. Interestingly, you can observe almost opposite directions in the different heights. The remnants of the upper part of the meteors path, which is the right hand side since it came from the right, do move quite fast to the left. This is also the initial direction of the meteor. Is it because of a remaining momentum of the meteor remnant in the high and thin atmosphere? Or is it just the wind direction at this height? The lower remants do move more like the high cirrus clouds, which however, should be far below the meteor remnant. A comparison with a Quadrantid train from 2007 also shows the movement of the first and highest part of the train into the initial direction of the meteor. There seems to be a considerable transfer of momentum from the meteor to the high train.

The bright star on the right hand side is Polaris. A second, but fainter, quadrantid can be seen at upper right in the end. Too bad that so many thin clouds moved through the field of view.