APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

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APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by APOD Robot » Tue Feb 02, 2021 5:05 am

Image A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor

Explanation: Meteors can be colorful. While the human eye usually cannot discern many colors, cameras often can. Pictured is a Quadrantids meteor captured by camera over Missouri, USA, early this month that was not only impressively bright, but colorful. The radiant grit, likely cast off by asteroid 2003 EH1, blazed a path across Earth's atmosphere. Colors in meteors usually originate from ionized elements released as the meteor disintegrates, with blue-green typically originating from magnesium, calcium radiating violet, and nickel glowing green. Red, however, typically originates from energized nitrogen and oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere. This bright meteoric fireball was gone in a flash -- less than a second -- but it left a wind-blown ionization trail that remained visible for several minutes.

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Ironwood

Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by Ironwood » Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:38 am

I love it when I can find something I recognize in the background stars. If you look closely you can see the beautiful Leo Triplet group of three galaxies just above center. They have been featured many times here at APOD, most recently April 18, 2019.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by XgeoX » Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:32 am

What a stunning image, best meteor shot I believe I have ever seen.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by Ann » Tue Feb 02, 2021 1:34 pm

Ironwood wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:38 am
I love it when I can find something I recognize in the background stars. If you look closely you can see the beautiful Leo Triplet group of three galaxies just above center. They have been featured many times here at APOD, most recently April 18, 2019.
Leo Triplet over Quadrantid Meteor.png
The Leo Triplet over a Quadrantid Meteor. Photo: Frank Kuszaj.
Wow, you're absolutely right, Ironwood! :D

And the nice blue star at far left is Denebola, Beta Leo. Denebola is really a quite modest main sequence A-type star.

The Quadrantid itself really looks gorgeous!

Ann
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Mike Attas

Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by Mike Attas » Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:17 pm

I agree that the photo is magnificent. But I have a question. Was the meteor going left to right, or right to left? Is it possible to tell from the photo? From the trail colours?

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by E Fish » Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:20 pm

Ironwood wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:38 am
I love it when I can find something I recognize in the background stars. If you look closely you can see the beautiful Leo Triplet group of three galaxies just above center. They have been featured many times here at APOD, most recently April 18, 2019.
Thanks for the identification! I noticed the galaxies (and initially thought that was what the picture was going to be about before the whole thing loaded) but I didn't recognize them.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by TheZuke! » Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:34 pm

Mike Attas wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:17 pm
I agree that the photo is magnificent. But I have a question. Was the meteor going left to right, or right to left? Is it possible to tell from the photo? From the trail colours?
I'm guessing, (dangerously) that it traveled right to left, because it encountered the Oxygen and Nitrogen as it plunged deeper into the atmosphere.

I can count on my nemesis/mentor neufer to correct me.

:ssmile:

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:52 pm

Mike Attas wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:17 pm
I agree that the photo is magnificent. But I have a question. Was the meteor going left to right, or right to left? Is it possible to tell from the photo? From the trail colours?
We can't determine the direction with complete certainty from the colors. We could tell a lot more with spectral data, but in a single exposure capturing the entire event we are seeing colors that are the product of both ionized meteoritic material as well as ionized atmospheric gases. We're also seeing emissions from secondary components like the wake. Spectroscopically we would see the less refractory elements emitting light earlier in the event, which would give us the direction. Further confusing things is that the meteor trail is saturated over much of its length, so we have no color information at all.

What we can observe is that the Quadrantid radiant is about 35° NE (that is, to the left) of the center of this image. So the meteor (assuming it is a Quadrantid, which is likely but not absolutely certain) must be traveling from the left to the right.
Chris

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by FKuszaj » Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:40 pm

Ironwood wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:38 am
I love it when I can find something I recognize in the background stars. If you look closely you can see the beautiful Leo Triplet group of three galaxies just above center. They have been featured many times here at APOD, most recently April 18, 2019.

The Leo Triplet was what I was trying to shoot! I made a simple mistake which ended up working for me. I was all the way zoomed out to 70 mm, when I thought I was around 280mm, without this mistake, i would have missed the meteor!

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by FKuszaj » Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:41 pm

Mike Attas wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:17 pm
I agree that the photo is magnificent. But I have a question. Was the meteor going left to right, or right to left? Is it possible to tell from the photo? From the trail colours?
in the photo, from right to left!

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by orin stepanek » Tue Feb 02, 2021 4:10 pm

MeteorStreak_Kuszaj_1080.jpg

Like a hot lance; burning through the atmosphere! :D I wonder how much meteors burning up change the atmosphere we breath?
If you click on magnesium; there is a lot of information on the reactions burning magnesium has with other materials! 8-)
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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Feb 02, 2021 4:34 pm

FKuszaj wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:41 pm
Mike Attas wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:17 pm
I agree that the photo is magnificent. But I have a question. Was the meteor going left to right, or right to left? Is it possible to tell from the photo? From the trail colours?
in the photo, from right to left!
If so, then this wasn't a Quadrantid, since the Quadrantid radiant is to the left.
Chris

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RET

Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by RET » Tue Feb 02, 2021 7:07 pm

I think I may have found another hidden object; an asteroid Vesta.
The photo was taken on Jan. 13, around 12 UT, right? If so, this is it.

Image

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Feb 02, 2021 7:57 pm

So actually, on closer examination, I'd have to say this is not a Quadrantid at all, no matter which direction it was coming from. It's just too far off the radiant.
_
quad_not.jpg
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SeedsofEarfth

Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by SeedsofEarfth » Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:23 pm

There is also a tiny meteor streaking from the lower left to the upper right in the top portion of the photo right of center. Best seen if you magnify the picture.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by De58te » Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:30 pm

Mike Attas wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:17 pm
I agree that the photo is magnificent. But I have a question. Was the meteor going left to right, or right to left? Is it possible to tell from the photo? From the trail colours?
I would imagine, although I didn't pay close attention in physics classes, that the meteor was moving left to right. My argument; That timewise, even though this happened in a split second, that the laws of physics would state that the close proximity nitrogen and oxygen gases would heat up first red, and then a split second later the turbulence of the speeding meteor would drive the red gases outward. Not the other way around. Also it makes sense that the green nickel being much harder metal than soft magnesium would take longer to vaporize. I would guess that the magnesium went up first, leaving the nickel on the right.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:40 pm

De58te wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:30 pm
Mike Attas wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:17 pm
I agree that the photo is magnificent. But I have a question. Was the meteor going left to right, or right to left? Is it possible to tell from the photo? From the trail colours?
I would imagine, although I didn't pay close attention in physics classes, that the meteor was moving left to right. My argument; That timewise, even though this happened in a split second, that the laws of physics would state that the close proximity nitrogen and oxygen gases would heat up first red, and then a split second later the turbulence of the speeding meteor would drive the red gases outward. Not the other way around. Also it makes sense that the green nickel being much harder metal than soft magnesium would take longer to vaporize. I would guess that the magnesium went up first, leaving the nickel on the right.
The problem is that we can't reliably relate the colors in the image to either elements in the meteoroid or the atmosphere, because it's a single streak with the wake and trail superimposed on the primary source. The colors are seriously distorted.

That said, now that I know it isn't a Quadrantid, I would lean towards right to left, since the sort of explosive fragmentation that produces a persistent train is likely to occur at or near the end of the path, which would suggest the meteor ends at the left edge.
Chris

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by neufer » Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:10 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:40 pm

The problem is that we can't reliably relate the colors in the image to either elements in the meteoroid or the atmosphere, because it's a single streak with the wake and trail superimposed on the primary source. The colors are seriously distorted.

That said, now that I know it isn't a Quadrantid, I would lean towards right to left, since the sort of explosive fragmentation that produces a persistent train is likely to occur at or near the end of the path, which would suggest the meteor ends at the left edge.
Thank goodness it's not a Colorful Quadrantid
... that would be SO hard to say!

Amazing photo of the Quadrantid meteor shower… from space!

The blown-out red color must be low density two minute excited atomic oxygen red 630.0 nm emission:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora wrote:
<<At its highest altitudes, excited atomic oxygen emits at 630 nm (red); low concentration of atoms and lower sensitivity of eyes at this wavelength make this color visible only under more intense solar activity. The low number of oxygen atoms and their gradually diminishing concentration is responsible for the faint appearance of the top parts of the "curtains". Scarlet, crimson, and carmine are the most often-seen hues of red for the auroras.

Oxygen is unusual in terms of its return to ground state: it can take 0.7 seconds to emit the 557.7 nm green light and up to two minutes for the red 630.0 nm emission. Collisions with other atoms or molecules absorb the excitation energy and prevent emission, this process is called collisional quenching. Because the highest parts of the atmosphere contain a higher percentage of oxygen and lower particle densities, such collisions are rare enough to allow time for oxygen to emit red light. Collisions become more frequent progressing down into the atmosphere due to increasing density, so that red emissions do not have time to happen, and eventually, even green light emissions are prevented. This is why there is a color differential with altitude; at high altitudes oxygen red dominates, then oxygen green and nitrogen blue/purple/red, then finally nitrogen blue/purple/red when collisions prevent oxygen from emitting anything. Green is the most common color. Then comes pink, a mixture of light green and red, followed by pure red, then yellow (a mixture of red and green), and finally, pure blue.>>
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:21 pm

neufer wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:10 pm
Chris Peterson wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:40 pm

The problem is that we can't reliably relate the colors in the image to either elements in the meteoroid or the atmosphere, because it's a single streak with the wake and trail superimposed on the primary source. The colors are seriously distorted.

That said, now that I know it isn't a Quadrantid, I would lean towards right to left, since the sort of explosive fragmentation that produces a persistent train is likely to occur at or near the end of the path, which would suggest the meteor ends at the left edge.
Thank goodness it's not a Colorful Quadrantid
... that would be SO hard to say!

Amazing photo of the Quadrantid meteor shower… from space!

The blown-out red color must be low density two minute excited atomic oxygen red 630.0 nm emission:
You mean the persistent train? Maybe... although two minutes is a pretty short time for this amount of drift. I'd also consider that we're seeing a sodium emission, which is the most common thing in these trains, not very well color corrected (sodium trains are orange-yellow).
Chris

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WWW

Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by WWW » Wed Feb 03, 2021 1:58 am

Considering the direction of the tiny branched off piece (seen at the upper edge of the streak nearer the right end of the blue glow), I'd put my guess that meteor was going from left to right.

There is at least 3 other separate streaks visible, (seen better with an expanded view), two in the upper right quadrant, one faint line going off the right edge of the picture, the other more to the upper left edge of the same quadrant, (looks more like a tiny fire ball). Another very faint streak at far left center just to the right of the larger blue star. (One of these may be the one pointed out by SeedsofEarfth)

Also, most of the larger stars in the picture have some blurred distortion at the upper edges, this likely also distorts the bright streak some.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by neufer » Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:01 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:21 pm
neufer wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:10 pm

The blown-out red color must be low density
two minute excited atomic oxygen
red 630.0 nm emission:
You mean the persistent train? Maybe... although two minutes is a pretty short time for this amount of drift. I'd also consider that we're seeing a sodium emission, which is the most common thing in these trains, not very well color corrected (sodium trains are orange-yellow).
589 nm emission sodium D lines are strong precisely because they are short lived (at night: see below).
630.0 nm atomic oxygen emission are long lived because they are "forbidden."
https://www.britannica.com/science/climate-meteorology/Winds-in-the-stratosphere-and-mesosphere wrote:
<<The winds in the stratosphere and mesosphere are usually estimated from temperature data collected by satellites. The winds at these high levels are assumed to be geostrophic. Overall, in the midlatitudes, they have a westerly component in the winter and an easterly component in the summer. The highest zonal winds are around 60–70 metres per second (3.6 to 4.2 kilometers per minute) at 65–70 km above Earth’s surface.>>
https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1129 wrote:
MESOSPHERE AND LOWER THERMOSPHERE NEUTRAL WINDS
OBSERVATIONS USING ROCKET-RELEASED CHEMICAL TRAILS AT POKERFLAT, ALASKA

Tianyu Zhan, Clemson University.
Clemson UniversityTigerPrints : Dissertations 8-2007

INTRODUCTION1. The mesosphere and lower thermosphere at high latitudes is a region with strong coupling with both the middle and lower neutral atmosphere and the ionosphere and magne-tosphere. The momentum and energy sources come from the dissipation of tides, planetary waves and gravity waves propagating upward from the troposphere and stratosphere, and from the ion drag, Joule heating and particle heating. During disturbed conditions, such as substorm events, the enhanced ionization and strong electric fields will further induce stronger coupling and the accelerated neutral wind pattern at E region and lower F re-gion represents a complex interaction between the auroral forcing and the tidal forcing.Mikkelsen et al. [1987] and Larsen et al. [1989] showed large horizontal neutral winds with magnitudes of 100–150 metres per second (6 to 9 kilometers per minute) in the region of 100 to 120 km altitude, observed by the chemical tracers released by sounding rockets under quiet conditions on March 20, 1985,and March 21, 1987, from Søndre Strømfjod, Greenland. Even larger westward horizontal neutral winds were observed during February and March 1978 by rocket-released trimethylaluminum (TMA) at Poker Flat, Alaska [Mikkelsen et al., 1981].
...................................................................................................
3.5 The idea of using a chemical tracer (sodium) released by sounding rockets at high altitudes to obtain neutral wind velocities was first proposed by Bates [1950]. Numerous experiments with sodium and other chemical tracer releases were carried out thereafter. Sodium, lithium and trimethyl aluminum (TMA) have been used extensively as chemical tracers during the past four decades, all working well in the altitude range be-tween approximately 80 and 180 km. Sodium trails are visible due to resonant scattering of sunlight at a wavelength of 5890 ̊A, but it is extinguished quickly after sunset [Bedinger et al., 1958]. Therefore, wind measurements using sodium tracer are limited to dawn or dusk when the tracer is illuminated at high altitudes and the ground site is located where it is dark enough to observe the trails. Lithium tracers are visible due to red resonant emissions and thus havethe same limitation as sodium [Larsen 2002]. The exceptionally bright resonant emissionproduced by lithium makes daytime neutral wind measurements possible however [Rees etal., 1972].>>
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Feb 03, 2021 4:55 am

neufer wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:01 am
Chris Peterson wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:21 pm
neufer wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:10 pm

The blown-out red color must be low density
two minute excited atomic oxygen
red 630.0 nm emission:
You mean the persistent train? Maybe... although two minutes is a pretty short time for this amount of drift. I'd also consider that we're seeing a sodium emission, which is the most common thing in these trains, not very well color corrected (sodium trains are orange-yellow).
589 nm emission sodium D lines are strong precisely because they are short lived (at night: see below).
630.0 nm atomic oxygen emission are long lived because they are "forbidden."
I've seen a lot of images of persistent trains, and I've never seen a red one. So if the color is accurate, that's the most interesting thing about this image, IMO.
Chris

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by FLPhotoCatcher » Thu Feb 04, 2021 5:56 am

Did you all miss the reply from the photographer? He said that the meteor was going from right to left.
FKuszaj wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:41 pm
Mike Attas wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:17 pm
I agree that the photo is magnificent. But I have a question. Was the meteor going left to right, or right to left? Is it possible to tell from the photo? From the trail colours?
in the photo, from right to left!

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:38 pm

FLPhotoCatcher wrote:
Thu Feb 04, 2021 5:56 am
Did you all miss the reply from the photographer? He said that the meteor was going from right to left.
FKuszaj wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:41 pm
Mike Attas wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:17 pm
I agree that the photo is magnificent. But I have a question. Was the meteor going left to right, or right to left? Is it possible to tell from the photo? From the trail colours?
in the photo, from right to left!
Unless he personally witnessed it- possible but unlikely- he's making the same sort of educated guess as the rest of us.
Chris

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Mike Attas

Re: APOD: A Colorful Quadrantid Meteor (2021 Feb 02)

Post by Mike Attas » Thu Feb 04, 2021 2:25 pm

Thank you all for your comments and observations about the direction of the train (or is it trail?). I’m glad others found it an interesting question too.