A. Sekhar

General Relativistic Precession in Meteoroid Orbits

Figure 1 Change in heliocentric distance of descending node in Geminids for different values of argument of pericentre for a constant Δω=2.3 × 10−2 degrees/kyr


There are only very few past works related to the application of general relativity in the orbital evolution of small solar system bodies. Previous calculations have shown that mean motion resonances due to Jupiter and Saturn can enable meteoroids to stay resonant for the order of few thousand years. Now we study the general relativistic precession for such long term evolution of meteoroid particles and its subsequent effects in nodal displacements. Our calculations show that although the Newtonian model works very well for almost all practical purposes for the well known showers during present epochs, there could be some exceptional combinations of orbital elements for which the general relativistic precession in argument of pericentre and its influence on nodal distances could become significantly pronounced and decisive for predicting any earth-meteor intersection. In this work we present some calculations proving these aspects in the context of well known and active meteor showers namely Geminids, Orionids and Leonids. A similar analysis is done on low perihelion distance and low semi-major axis meteoroid streams taken from the list of established showers at the IAU-Meteor Data Center.

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Last Revised: 2013 October 4th