MU head echo observations of the 2010 Geminids: radiant, orbit, and meteor flux observing biases
- 1Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF), P.O. Box 812, 981 28 Kiruna, Sweden
- 2National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR), 10-3 Midoricho, Tachikawa, 190-8518 Tokyo, Japan
Abstract. We report Geminid meteor head echo observations with the high-power large-aperture (HPLA) Shigaraki middle and upper atmosphere (MU) radar in Japan (34.85° N, 136.10° E). The MU radar observation campaign was conducted from 13 December 2010, 08:00 UTC to 15 December, 20:00 UTC and resulted in 48 h of radar data. A total of ~ 270 Geminids were observed among ~ 8800 meteor head echoes with precisely determined orbits. The Geminid head echo activity is consistent with an earlier peak than the visual Geminid activity determined by the International Meteor Organization (IMO). The observed flux of Geminids is a factor of ~ 3 lower than the previously reported flux of the 2009 Orionids measured with an identical MU~radar setup. We use the observed flux ratio to discuss the relation between the head echo mass–velocity selection effect, the mass distribution indices of meteor showers and the mass threshold of the MU radar.