The meteoric stream of the Phoenicids returns

Phoenicids meteor shower, named in honor of the constellation Phoenix, opened December 5, 1956 members of the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition, did then journey across the Pacific. However, since then this stream was no longer observed, leaving astronomers lost in conjecture as to the origin of the mysterious meteor shower.

Two teams of Japanese scientists were able to answer the question of the origin of this stream, linking the meteor shower of the Phoenicides with the disappeared celestial body, the comet of Blanpeng. This comet first appeared in the sky in 1819, and then disappeared. In 2003, astronomers discovered a small celestial body moving in the same orbit at which the comet moved Blanpena more than 100 years ago, and have shown that this body is the remains of a comet Blanpena. The legendary coma and tail of this comet consisted of gas and dust ejected from the surface of the comet’s nucleus. The reason why the comet Blanpena appeared in the sky again, but it is now it look like an asteroid was that gas and dust comet nuclei were completely consumed. Now these comet-ejected gas, dust and small fragments move along the same orbit as the comet moved before, and gradually dissipate into the surrounding space. When these fragments reach the Earth, they burn in the atmosphere and are visible in the sky as “fire arrows” of the meteor shower of Phoenicides.

Based on this hypothesis, linking meteor shower Phoenicids Blanpena with a comet, a team of astronomers led by Yasunori Fujiwara (Yasunori Fujiwara) predicted a reappearance Phoenicids flow in the sky 1 December 2014 and was able to follow-up carried out from the territory of the State of New Carolina, USA, On the designated day, confirm its appearance. Surprising for the team was that the number of meteors of this stream was only 10 percent of the predicted, based on the available information about the former activity of Comet Blanpeng. This allowed the team to conclude that the comet activity Blanpena while, as she passed the Earth, was significantly lower than previously thought, and as reported in the latest work of these authors. Fujiwara’s team also suggests extending the use of this approach to determine the activities of other small bodies of the Solar System.

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