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Are exceptionally large, bright, meteors (such as Tunguska or Chelyabinsk) more common during common meteor showers like the Perseids, or the Leonids?

If not, why is that? Do the meteor showers simply not carry any more massive pieces?

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Meteor showers are associated with dust trails left by comets, There are larger clumps, but most cometary dust is pretty small.

Most large impactors are small asteroids: This was certainly the case in Chelyabinsk, and is the likely the case with Tunguska. Asteroids are not associated with cometary orbits and the impacts are sporadic, not concentrated in showers. Each year there are 10s of significant bolides They don't correlate with meteor showers.

(Tunguska did occur during a regular shower, the Beta Taurids, and some have hypothesised that it may have be an fragment of Comet Encke, but analysis of the impact site suggests that this was a coincidence.)

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In historical times we do not have enough data to do serious statistics about meteors of the size of the Chelyabinsk meteor.

In Wikipedia's list of meteor air bursts there are only six events within two orders of magnitude of the Chelyabinsk meteor.

$$\begin{array}{lll} \hline \text{Date} & \text{Location} & \text{Energy [TJ]}\\ \hline \text{1490-04-04} & \text{Qingyang district, China} & unknown\\ \text{1908-06-30} & \text{Tunguska event} & 42000–63000\\ \text{1930-08-13} & \text{Curuca River Area, Brazil} & 38–20920\\ \text{1963-08-03} & \text{Prince Edward Islands} & 740–1490\\ \text{2009-10-08} & \text{South Sulawesi, Indonesia} & 130–210\\ \text{2013-02-15} & \text{Chelyabinsk meteor} & 2100\\ \hline \end{array}$$

Note that for the Tunguska event it is not proven to date that it had been caused by a meteor.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. It is rather short, and doesn't really answer the question. Could you expand: how much data do we have? What about impactors that are smaller than the russian ones.... $\endgroup$ – James K Feb 27 '16 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ Good expansion +1 $\endgroup$ – James K Feb 27 '16 at 20:00

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