Results from High Speed Imaging and Photometry of Stardust and meteors


Hans C. Stenbaek-Nielsen, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
The descent of the Stardust Sample Return Capsule on 2006 January 15 was observed with an intensified high frame-rate slit-less spectrograph, which was operated in staring mode. Spectra were recorded at 300 frames per second from 09:57:47 to 09:57:57 UT, around the time of peak decelleration of the capsule. At this time, the spectra contain continuum emission from the hot surface and are otherwise featureless with the exception of the telluric absorption from molecular oxygen in the atmosphere between the capsule and the observer. The spectral sequence was analysed for signs of variation in the total emission from a possible whobbling of the capsule at periods higher than the spin rate. No such variation was observed. By averaging all spectra together, we were able to bring out weak emission lines of oxygen and potassium over the time frame 09:57:51 - 54 UT and sodium emission during 09:57:48 - 51 UT.