Russian scientists were able to artificially recreate the plasma trail that occurs when a meteorite burns up in the atmosphere. This was reported by the press service of the RNF.
When a celestial body enters the earth’s atmosphere, it heats up from friction with the air and begins to burn. In this case, a luminous trail consisting of plasma is formed – a “shooting star”. Very bright meteors that outshine the brilliance of Venus are called fireballs. Scientists are able to estimate the properties of a celestial body from its plasma trail, as well as to estimate the place of impact, but these calculations have significant errors due to a poor understanding of what exactly happens to the meteor.
Scientists from Moscow State University reproduced in the laboratory the trail of the fireball. The authors directed a powerful laser beam at a target made of iron oxide – this metal is often found in meteorites and materials from which aircraft are made, and the oxide is formed when iron interacts with atmospheric oxygen. They then observed how the emission spectrum of this compound changed when it was evaporated at high temperatures.
Scientists have found that the temperature in the cooling track of the car reaches 4,700 ° C. From the emission spectra of iron, they also calculated that the pressure in it exceeds atmospheric pressure by 25 times. The results of the study are of practical importance in the study of asteroid hazard, de-orbiting satellites or space debris, as well as the features of the destruction of bodies upon entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Based on the features of the motion of the fireball, it is possible to calculate its trajectory before the collision with the Earth, which helps to determine the origin of the cosmic body. In addition, the exact trajectory of the object’s movement makes it possible to predict the place of its possible fall.
The authors hope that their results will help investigate meteors both in the Earth’s atmosphere and on other planets. The latter is especially important, since specialists do not have the opportunity to directly study the material that fell on Venus or the satellites of Jupiter.