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A Consideration that the Fireballs Associated with the Perseids Meteor Shower are an Indication of a Previous Low Angle Impact / Skip by Comet 109P/Swift–Tuttle.
  • John Burgener
John Burgener
Telegistics Inc.

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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It is accepted that the Perseids Meteor Shower each August is related to the comet Swift Tuttle. It is apparent that the outgassing as the comet travels spreads a cloud of dust along its 133 year long orbital path, and that as the Earth passes through the dust each year, the larger particles burn in the atmosphere creating the meteor shower. Fireballs are also common at the same time, associated with Comet Swift Tuttle. Fireballs are much larger objects than expected from comets outgassing, but the timing and association with the Perseids and Comet Swift Tuttle is significant enough to comfortably assign a large number of mid August fireballs to a relationship with Swift Tuttle. William Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office has plotted the orbits of the fireballs associated with Swift Tuttle as shown in the attached image. They show a large range of orbits, with only one common factor: They all intersect Earth’s orbit in mid-August. Some have very short periods and others long periods. The image shown in this abstract is a diagram of the orbital paths of the fireballs presented by NASA. Studies with iSALE impact hydrocode show that comets hitting Earth at low angles such as 5 degrees or less can skip and continue on a new path at similar speeds to the original orbital speeds. Such a skip will cause part of the comet to drag across the surface of Earth, and both portions of the comet and portions of the Earth’s surface will be carried into space at above Earth escape velocities. Such an occurrence would send some fragments at high speeds similar to or higher than the speed of the comet, and other fragments would be tossed at slower speeds, all depending on the location of the fragments during the impact event. It would be expected that such fragments would travel away from Earth on a wide range of orbits, with the common feature of all of the orbits being the initiation point of the event: the skip impact of Swift Tuttle with Earth. It is proposed that Comet Swift Tuttle has previously impacted Earth at a low angle, causing a skip event which sent fragments of the comet and of the Earth into the wide range of orbits seen in the fireball orbits associated with the Perseids Meteor Showers. The .gif image shows a graphic rendition of such a skip impact. The third image shows the calculated orbits of the resultant debris. The debris from a skip impact produces the same range of orbits as determined by NASA.