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Sky at Night Magazine - - IMAGING FOR SCIENCE -

“Me­teor imag­ing has seen a huge trans­for­ma­tion in re­cent years,” says Tra­cie Hey­wood (pic­tured), di­rec­tor of the So­ci­ety for Pop­u­lar As­tron­omy Me­teor Sec­tion. “His­tor­i­cally, imag­ing was based around pho­to­graphic film, which suf­fered the dis­ad­van­tages of low cap­ture rates, time-con­sum­ing man­ual pro­cess­ing and many ‘wasted’ (me­teor-less)

ex­po­sures. The switch to dig­i­tal imag­ing has in­creased cap­ture rates and me­teor-less im­ages can now sim­ply be deleted and the disc space reused. The big ad­vances have, how­ever, in­volved imag­ing us­ing video cam­eras, par­tic­u­larly when the cam­eras are au­to­mated and co­or­di­nated to mon­i­tor the same parts of the Earth’s up­per at­mos­phere.

“Soft­ware run­ning with the cam­eras picks up, mea­sures and saves video clips of mov­ing ob­jects that may be me­te­ors. The cam­era op­er­a­tor can leave the sys­tem run­ning overnight and, hav­ing had a good night’s sleep, re­view the video clips the next morn­ing. A few am­a­teurs are tak­ing the ad­di­tional step of plac­ing dif­frac­tion grat­ings in front of their cam­eras. The spec­tra these cap­ture give an in­di­ca­tion of the com­po­si­tion of me­te­ors.

“There are two groups of am­a­teurs co­or­di­nat­ing video ob­ser­va­tions in the UK and Ire­land. One is NEMETODE (www. nemetode.org ). The other is UKMON (https://uk­me­te­or­net­work.co.uk).”

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