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Predictability in meteoroid stream evolution D.J. Asher a aArmagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG, UK
Each time an active comet returns to perihelion, it releases particles that progressively stretch into a dense, narrow trail of meteoroids and dust. When a section of a trail makes a close approach to a planet, particles are scattered into the meteoroid stream as a whole. Before trails disperse chaotically into the stream (which in turn is before the stream disperses into the zodiacal background) they not only remain narrow, but also undergo a dynamical evolution that is quite predictable. Since meteor storms occur when the Earth passes through dust trails, calculation of gravitational perturbations enables the prediction of meteor storms and outbursts. Although this chaotic scattering limits trail lifetimes, parts of trails that are in mean motion resonances can remain coherent over substantially longer timescales. Approaches to Earth have been the main cause of dispersing trails in the Leonid stream over recent centuries.
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