Age of Geminids Derived from the Statistics of Meteoroid Orbits

Statistical analysis of samples of the orbits of celestial bodies is complicated by the fact that the Keplerian orbit is a multidimensional object, the coordinate representation of which nonlinearly depends on the choice of orbital elements. In this work, using the construction of the Fr’echet mean, concepts of mean orbit and dispersion of the orbit family are introduced, consistent with the distance function on the orbit set. The introduced statistical characteristics serve as analogs of sample mean and variance of a one-dimensional random variable. Exact formulas for calculating the elements of mean orbits and dispersion quantities with respect to two metrics on the orbit space are derived. For a large sample of meteoroid orbits from the Geminid stream, numerical simulations of orbit evolution over 20,000 years in the past are conducted. By analyzing the dependency of statistical characteristics on time, estimates for the age of the stream and the gas outflow velocity are obtained under the assumption of the birth of the Geminids due to the rapid destruction of the cometary nucleus.Statistical analysis of samples of the orbits of celestial bodies is complicated by the fact that the Keplerian orbit is a multidimensional object, the coordinate representation of which nonlinearly depends on the choice of orbital elements. In this work, using the construction of the Fr’echet mean, concepts of mean orbit and dispersion of the orbit family are introduced, consistent with the distance function on the orbit set. The introduced statistical characteristics serve as analogs of sample mean and variance of a one-dimensional random variable. Exact formulas for calculating the elements of mean orbits and dispersion quantities with respect to two metrics on the orbit space are derived. For a large sample of meteoroid orbits from the Geminid stream, numerical simulations of orbit evolution over 20,000 years in the past are conducted. By analyzing the dependency of statistical characteristics on time, estimates for the age of the stream and the gas outflow velocity are obtained under the assumption of the birth of the Geminids due to the rapid destruction of the cometary nucleus.