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Network for Meteor
Triangulation and Orbit Determination
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NEMETODE is a network of cameras based in the British Isles that monitor the night sky for meteors ("shooting stars"). Through the use of triangulation and timing the network is able to determine the actual trajectory and velocity of the meteoroids as they pass through the Earth's atmosphere. From this we are able to determine specific characteristics such as the radiant (that point in the sky from which each meteor appears to originate), how the position of this radiant varies with time and the parameters of the original solar orbit of the meteoroid (before the earth got in the way). We analyse our own data as we find this is an excellent feedback mechanism that deepens our understanding of the subject and enables us to optimise our detection capabilities. Our results are published in peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of the British Astronomical Association and WGN, the Journal of the International Meteor Organisation. Having completed our analysis, our data is uploaded to EDMOND for consolidation with other European groups. While we have excellent coverage over certain parts of the British Isles, there are still many gaps so please get in touch if you are interested in joining the group.
17th August 2016: Frank's Four: The standard health warning that video meteor observing is highly addictive and should be approached with caution continues to be ignored with Frank Johns being the latest member of the team to expand their setup. Just in time for the peak of the Perseid shower, Frank has commissioned a ziggurat design to house his four cameras which now provide excellent ablation layer coverage to his North and West.
18th July 2016: Long and Flat: In the early hours of Sunday 17th July 2016 multiple reports began to appear on Twitter of a very long duration meteor. Over subsequent hours reports also began to appear on the IMO Fireball page (albeit with a wide range of reported times). Later the same morning Jim Rowe reported that a long duration meteor had been detected on his system and before long other members of the NEMETODE team were reporting similar findings. The analysis is still ongoing however what is clear is that this was an unusual event. The first detection of the meteor trail was at 23:13:51 GMT on Saturday 16th July 2016 (00:13:51 BST on Sunday 17th July 2016) by Ray Taylor's system in Skirlaugh as it crossed the North Yorkshire sea coast between Middlesbrough and Whitby. Over the course of at least the next 7 seconds, the meteoroid travelled on a south-south-west trajectory, skimming the top of the atmosphere at an almost constant altitude of 109km for a distance in excess of 400km. Along the way it was detected by Alex Pratt (Leeds), William Stewart (Ravensmoor), Jim Rowe (East Barnet) and Steve & Peta Bosley (Clanfield). A sporadic with an absolute magnitude of -1.6, it was still going strong when it left the field of view of the last camera as it passed to the south-east of Glastonbury. The orbit shows that this was clearly of cometary origin - note the perihelion well inside the orbit of Mercury. Did the meteoroid ultimately dive deeper into the atmosphere or skip back out into space? We're still pulling some data and will keep you all posted but in the meantime the imagery below shows what was seen and the results of our initial analysis.
16th July 2016: Video Meteor Spectroscopy: For anyone interested in the basics of Video Meteor Spectroscopy, we've now published details of this exciting topic in #4 of our series of Technical Notes. While this type of data collection presents its own unique series of challenges, it is quite rewarding and experienced operators of "standard" video systems are certainly encouraged to consider augmenting their existing systems with a spectral system.
11th July 2016: Jim & Ray "Double Up": The addictive nature of video meteor observing continues unabated as Ray Taylor and Jim Rowe have each augmented their original systems with additional cameras. Ray's second camera points north-east (his first points north-west) while Jim also now has coverage to his north-east and north-west. Congratulations to them both - as ever the additonal coverage further enhances the opportunities for multi-station captures, opens up further parts of the ablation layer that have previously had limited or no coverage and will result in valuable science.
27th June 2016: Multiple Witnesses: Back on the 25th June 2016 at 02:02:26 GMT a bright meteor was widely observed over large parts of the country with many witnesses recording their observations on the Armagh and IMO fireball pages. In spite of the extensive cloud cover over much of the UK, the cameras of Jon Jones (Huntington), Martin Farmer (Newcastle under Lyme) and Nick James (Chelmsford) were able to record it. We can be confident this was a fireball due to Martin's observation (apparent magnitude -4.1) even though the calculated absolute magnitude was only -1.6 The fact that for Jon the brightest part of the trail was obscured by cloud and for Nick it was very close to the horizon has fooled UFO Orbit into underestimating the brightness. Martin's observation is remarkably clear and well framed. Note the internal reflection above the main trail, travelling in the opposite direction. The analysis shows it was a sporadic with a low Vg of 12.4 km/s, catching up with the earth as it orbited the sun. Only a Q1 event and so we can't put too much faith in the orbit however for what it's worth, Tj=4.4 hence the meteoroid is likely to have been asteroidal in origin. The .kml file to visualise the meteoroid's trajecotry through the earth's atmosphere is available here.
29th May 2016: Jim Rowe joins NEMETODE: Last night was the first full night of operation of Jim Rowe's video meteor detection system. Jim's system is based around a Watec 902H2 Ultimate and points north-west from his home in East Barnet, North London. Will be adding further details to Jim's page in the coming days but in the meantime please join me in welcoming Jim to the team.
26th May 2016: Welcome to Peter: A few weeks ago Peter Stewart installed his camera system, comprising a Watec 902H2 Supreme and a Cosmicar Pentax 12mm f0.8 lens, at his home to the north of Lisburn, Co. Antrim. Pointing west-south-west, it provides valuable coverage over the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Since go-live, Peter has been fine tuning his setup and as we enter the main meteor-season for northern hemisphere observers, we look forward to the data that will flow from his setup. Please join me in welcoming Peter to the NEMETODE team.
16th May 2016: Nick Rowell joins NEMETODE: For the past few weeks Nick Rowell from Gargunnock, near Stirling in Scotland, has been busy commissioning and optimising his video meteor detection system and deploying some additional automation. Nick notes, "I've had a bit of time this weekend to put the finishing touches to my system and do my first proper UFOAnalyser run. Now that I'm routinely collecting data I think it's time to 'go public' and start sharing my results with the NEMETODE team. My system uses a Raspberry Pi to turn on the camera PC (by toggling the power button using the GPIO pins) at sunset +30mins after automatically checking the weather forecast for the night - the whole setup is working very nicely and has been running without supervision for several weeks. I've been writing a technical note explaining how to put the system together and will share that once it's ready". Nick's location and alignment opens up yet another part of the ablation layer for which we previously did not have regulary monitoring and is a very valuable addition. Please join me in welcoming Nick (and his camera) to the group.
29th April 2016: Chris & Victoria join NEMETODE: Please join me in welcoming Chris & Victoria Jackson to the NEMETODE family. Those of you with experience of the radio detection of meteors will likely already be familiar with Chris & Victoria's work. In recent weeks however they have deployed a video meteor detection system (based on a Watec 902H3 Supreme and a Tamron 3-8mm f1.0 lens) from Copt Oak, Leicestershire to augment their radio setups. This will support the growing effort to investigate the correlation between meteors detected via radio and via video ... and as ever we're looking forward to the science that will result from this system. Stay tuned for further updates as existing members of the team deploy additional cameras and new observers complete the commissioning phase of their recently acquired setups.
21st March 2016: Blinded by the Light: As was widely reported in the media, a fireball was observed over much of the British Isles on Thursday 17th March 2016 at 03:16:55GMT, an event some have dubbed the St Patrick's Day Fireball. Many cameras in the network recorded the sky brightening / flashes associated with this event though for the majority the trail was outside of their field of view. Steve & Peta Bosley and Allan Carter had more success though the event does highlight the challenges associated with such bright meteors.
Our observers often optimise their systems to detect very faint meteors, as for every bright meteor there are many more faint ones - and the team are trying to build up a large database of orbits from which statistically significant conclusions can be drawn. While this approach is sensible, it does mean that when a bright event occurs, it can overwhelm the sensor and saturate the image. In particular, Allan's setup is one of the most sensitive in the group and his imagery is almost totally maxed out (see videos here and here). Steve & Peta's video is here while a composite and still from their video are shown below.
18th March 2016: Andrew Joins the Team: Please join me in welcoming Andrew Smith to the NEMETODE family. Andrew has recently deployed a Cosmicar Pentax 12mm f0.8 lens coupled to a Watec 910HX from his observatory in Delamere, Cheshire. The long focal length, fast lens and top of the range camera make this a formiddable system and as ever we're looking forward to the science that will result from this system. Stay tuned for further updates as existing members of the team deploy additional cameras and new observers complete the commissioning phase of their recently acquired setups.
08th March 2016: Aurora ... on Video!: If we want to capture imagery of an auroral display then many of us have to put in the effort to travel to more northerly latitudes, look north and take long exposure photographs. However there are no such inconveniences for Denis Buczynski. The combination of his permanent location, the recent display of bright aurora and the sensitivity of his south facing (Yep, Denis can see them when looking south) meteor camera system means that he can easily capture them on video as shown in the imagery below of a zenithal cone. Comparison with a DSLR image taken by Denis from the same location a couple of minutes later provides a colourful comparison. In addition to sprites and fuel dumps, who know what other noteworthy events will be picked up next?
20th February 2016: Sprites, Must See Videos: A series of sprite events originating from a storm to the south of London were imaged by multiple cameras just before midnight on 07th February 2016 by Allan Carter, Richard Fleet and Hampshire Astronomical Group. It's fair to say that Allan's captures from his East facing camera are, by some considerable margin, the best imagery of these elusive phenomena ever caught by video meteor cameras from the British Isles. As Dr Martin Fullekrug notes, "It seems this storm was very active as it is pretty rare to see so many sprites from one single storm." Allan's videos include the event at normal speed as well as the same event slowed down by a factor of 10. See the Sprites page for additional imagery and videos.
19th February 2016: Staying Indoors: Further to the 21st November 2015 update (see below), Alex Pratt's article in the February 2016 issue of the JBAA provides additional detaials regarding just how effective a video meteor detection system can be when sited indoors. So, if an external CCTV housing is not an option, you can still get involved.
29th January 2016: New Year, New Observer: Please join me in welcoming Greg Pearce, the latest meteor observer to join the team. Greg, a colleague of Frank Johns, has recently commissioned his video detection system (a Watec 902H2 Supreme fitted with a Cosmicar Pentax 6mm f0.75 lens) at his home in Veryan on the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall. Greg's system provides valuable additional coverage over the southern parts of the Irish Sea and lifts the total number of deployed systems across the NEMETODE Team to 52.
28th December 2015: Network Update: As we reach the end of 2015, I'm very pleased to welcome Martin Farmer to the team. Martin is based just to the north of Newcastle under Lyme in Staffordshire and has deployed a pair of cameras. The first is a Watec 910HX facing west-south-west while the other is a Watec 902H3 Ultimate facing north-east. Each is fitted with a Pentax 3-8mm lens. Please join me in welcoming Martin to the group.
In a seperate development, Allan Carter has deployed a fifth camera in Basingstoke. This one, a spectral system based around a Watec 910HX equipped with a Cosmicar Pentax 12mm f0.8 lens and a 600g/mm grating, is another valuable window into the fascinating world of meteoroid chemistry to complement those of Graham Roche & William Stewart. NEMETODE now comprises 31 observers and 51 cameras but we also have additonal observers / cameras on the cusp of coming online - stay tuned for further details.
26th November 2015: Latest Paper: The December 2015 issue of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association contains our latest paper "Quadrantids 2014 - Multi-station Meteor Videography". Previous papers are available here.
25th November 2015: Long Shot: The record (as far as we know) for the most distant simultaneous meteor observation within the British Isles has been broken with both Nick James' and Denis Buczynski's detection of an amag -3.6 Leonid on 21st November 2015 at 04:59:41 GMT. This was only just above the local horizon for Nick at a calculated distance of 642km from his camera in Chelmsford. Well done to both Nick & Denis! While observers in other parts of the world may have simultaneously observed more distant meteors, the size of the British Isles and the location of observers means that this one will be tough to beat.
21st November 2015: Coming in from the Cold: Alex Pratt has deployed a third camera from his home in Leeds. Keen to have a north facing camera to further augment the traingulation coverage supporting Bill Ward's spectroscopy observations, Alex was however unable to fit another exterior CCTV housing. Unperturbed, Alex has installed the system inside his house, looking out through an upstairs window. The Watec 902H2 Ultimate is coupled to a 12mm f1.2 lens, yielding a stellar limiting magnitude of +6.0, impressive considering the double glazing.
20th November 2015: TechNote #3: The latest in our series of Technical Notes is now out. TechNote #3 covers the topic of "Maintaining accurate time on a UFO Capture PC". Previous Technical Notes are available here.
16th November 2015: Not Only ... But Also: The deployment within the team of systems capable of capturing meteor spectra continues with the installation of a 4th camera by William Stewart at Ravensmoor, Cheshire. Based around a Watec 902H2 Ultimate and a Computar 12mm f0.8 lens, this setup includes a 600 g/mm diffraction grating and went live on 25th October 2015. Pointing north-east, it detects spectra from meteors that pass through that part of the ablation layer monitored by two of the other Ravensmoor cameras, thus increasing the probability that triangulation data with other stations can be combined with the spectral data. The focus needs a little tweak but since first light, a number of spectra have been captured including the amag -3.4 Southern Taurid shown below that occurred at 22:52:17 GMT on 12th November 2015. Bill Ward's sporadic of 13th October 2015 (00:09:35 GMT - see earlier posting) has, upon further review, a radiant that is close to that Taurid stream (trail maps are available here and here). This was sufficiently close to warrant a comparison of the spectra derived from each event. The similarities are remarkable though further investigation / analysis is required. Close inspection of the Ravensmoor spectrum shows the second order of the blue part of the spectrum, useful in that the increased dispersion helps seperate the closely spaced lines. For those interested in meteor spectra, we're putting the final touches to a Technical Note on the subject - stay tuned for details.
17th October 2015: The Best One Yet: Bill Wards's KiSSMe cameras have captured a very detailed spectrum of a magnitude -3.9 sporadic meteor that ablated over eastern Scotland on the 13th October 2015 at 00:09:35 GMT and once again NEMETODE the cameras of Denis Buczynski, David Anderson and Glyn Marsh have been able to assist in pinning down the atmospheric trajectory as well as generate an estimate of the orbit of the progenitor meteoroid. The level of details in the spectral lines is remarkable and we look forward to Bill's analysis - provisional details are available here.
16th October 2015: Hampshire Astronomy Group: We've very pleased to announce that Steve & Peta Bosley from Hampshire Astronomical Group have decided to join the NEMETODE and share the data from their three cameras with the team. Steve & Peta both have multi-year experience in operating video meteor detection systems and analysing the resultant data.
14th October 2015: A Tricky Fireball: On 11th October 2015 at 00:27:56 GMT a fireball was widely observed across the British Isles and even as far away as The Netherlands. The problem for many observers however was the extensive cloud clover that in most cases restricted the view to a series of flashes (one bright one followed by two fainter ones) as the cloud deck was illuminated from above by flares from the fragmenting meteoroid. Many cameras in the NEMETODE network detected these flashes but only two (Jon Jones in Huntinton and David Anderson in Low Craighead) had sufficient thinning of the clouds to allow the trajectory to be observed. The subsequent analysis proved to be a challenge as the light from the aforementioned flashes illuminated different parts of the image, confusing the analysis software - clicking on the images below will show problem. Through careful selection of key parts of certain video frames Alex Pratt has been able to determine the probable ground track that shows the meteor travelling south to north just off the north coast of Wales. It would appear that this event was a sporadic with an absolute magnitude of at least -7. Due to shortness of the analysed trails, this result should be treated with caution however it is consistent with the majority of reports on the Armagh & IMO Fireball pages.
02nd October 2015: Cameras, Cobwebs & Chemistry: We're very pleased to welcome Ken Ball and Frank Johns to the team, each of them having deployed a Watec 902H2 Supreme coupled to a Cosmicar / Pentax 6mm f0.75 lens. Ken is based in Hereford and is fine-tuning his azimuth / elevation. Frank resides in Newquay and his north-west facing camera provides excellent overlap with Allan Carter and Gordon Reineke, further enhancing coverage over the southern part of the Irish Sea. In addition, John Mason & Russ Slater have deployed a third camera at South Downs Planetarium. Of note is the "spider modification" implemented by Russ ... having removed the rain shield (which is superfluous to requirements anyway as the housing is pointed upwards), there is no longer an overhang from which spiders can spin their webs. The gap between the cover and housing has also been filled with foam so that there is no longer a convenient warm, dry habitat. Web-spinning spiders can trigger the motion detection software used in the system and initial indications are tha these modifications have been very successful at preventing them from taking up residence in or on the camera housings. These three additional cameras brings the network total to 42 cameras.
In addition, Graham Roche has fitted a 600 lines / mm diffraction grating to the front of his camera system and is obtained excellent spectral data. Of particular note is the fireball of 30th September 2015 at 19:32:59 GMT. It is truly remarkable how quickly the discipline of video meteor analysis is advancing. Having spent billions of years obiting the sun either as an individual particle or part of a larger body, we are able to accurately detemine the orbital parameters, atmospheric trajectory and chemical composition of a meteor using relatively inexpensive equipment. On this occasion the team collaboration was superb and these parameters were identified within a couple of hours of the event occurring - special thanks to Bill Ward for the provisional identification of iron and/or magnesium in the green part of the spectrum. The orbit has a Tisserand Parameter of 3.17 suggesting that the meteoroid was asteroidal in origin. Tony Markham has a writeup of this event on the SPA website while additional visual observations are on the Armagh and IMO fireball pages. With further spectral systems coming online soon, this pioneering work of Bill Ward and Graham Roche here in the British Isles is quickly becoming mainstream.
14th September 2015: Another KiSSMe / NEMETODE Spectorbital: Further to the results of 10th and 21st April 2015 (see below), the collaboration between Bill Ward’s KiSSMe (Kilwinning Spectroscopic Survey for Meteors) and NEMETODE has resulted in another fascinating observation, specifically a meteor that occurred at 02:27:19 GMT on Friday 11th September 2015. The data captured by Glyn Marsh, David Anderson and William Stewart has facilitated an estimate for the atmospheric trajectory and orbit: the meteor entered the atmosphere at a shallow angle and lasted 4s – see images and videos below. A sporadic meteor with an absolute magnitude of -1.9, it was probably asteroidal in origin. Bill’s spectral analysis (see imagery below) shows that for the duration of the event, a very bright sodium line and fainter magnesium line were visible with a series of iron lines flashing into view during the explosion towards the end of the event.
30th August 2015: Welcome to Martin: Today we're very pleased to announce that Martin Kessel has joined the team. Martin is based in the eastern suburbs of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire and has been operating a meteor video detection system since 2009. Having recently upgraded his system with a 6mm f0.75 Cosmicar Pentax lens, Martin has seen a significant improvement in his detection capabilities, in spite of the local light pollution. Martin will be giving a talk relating to his system on Tuesday 01st September 2015 at North Staffordshire Astronomical Society - anyone in the local area interested in hearing more is very welcome to attend. In the meantime, please join me in welcoming Martin to the group.
26th August 2015: Perseid Fireball (2 of 2): Further to the previous update, we have now received the data to allow the ground track and orbit of the other Perseid fireball that was observed on the night of the 12th August at 20:57:05 GMT (many of our observers leave their systems running, even when away from home, and hence the retrieval of the data may take a few days until their return). This was a magnitude -5.8 event picked up by Allan Carter, Nick James and James Dawson. We also have the .kml file to allow the atmospheric trajectory and ground track to be viewed in Google Earth.
18th August 2015: Perseid Fireball (1 of 2): Thankfully the weather cleared for many members of the team on the night of the Perseid maximum and right now everyone is busy working through their data which will go towards an upcoming paper. In the meantime we wanted to share a couple of spectaculars from this year's show. The first occurred on 12th August 2015 at 23:21:32 GMT and is notable not only because it was a magnitude -5.4 Perseid fireball imaged by no fewer than eight members of the team but also because Alex Pratt imaged it and the resulting persistent train with a DSLR. Alex's animation was derived from 19 exposures, each of 20s duration. The first 8 exposures were used to produce the montage. Click on the images below for the show from each location. We also have the .kml file to allow the atmospheric trajectory and ground track to be viewed in Google Earth.
10th August 2015: And Glyn is Now Online Too!: Further to today's earlier announcement, we're very pleased to welcome Dr Glyn Marsh to the team. Glyn has been commissioning his new system (Watec 902H2 Supreme with a Computar 3.6mm lens) at his home in Ballakinnag on the Isle of Man for the past couple of weeks. Aligned on an azimuth of 349.5 degrees from the north coast of the island, Glyn is looking out over some of the darkest skies in the Britsh Isles. Again, it's another valuable addition to the network just in time for the maximum of the Perseids. Please join me in welcoming Glyn to the team!
10th August 2015: James Goes Live!: We're very pleased to once again welcome a new observer to the team. James Dawson is based in Nottingham and in the past few days has deployed a Watec 902H2 Supreme coupled to a Cosmicar Pentax 3.8mm f0.8 lens. Local light pollution has proved somewhat of a challenge but through careful alignment James has managed to select an azimuth and elevation that avoids the majority of local hazards to astronomy while at the same time enhancing coverage over south-east England. With the commissioning phase just about over, James is all set to make valuable contributions, just in time for the maximum of the Perseids (see the magnitude +0.6 example he caught in the video below). Please join me in welcoming James to the team!
06th August 2015: IMC 2015: Bill Ward (KiSSMe) will be presenting two posters relating to Video Meteor Spectroscopy at the International Meteor Conference that is taking place in Mistelbach, Austria from the 27th - 30th August 2015. One of Bill's posters references the NEMETODE collaboration (which is increasing as a result of the additional deployments / realignments mentioned in the 03rd August 2015 update and has been highlighted in earlier postings) - click on the images below for details. Best wishes to Bill on his travels and presentations!
04th August 2015: Long & Slow: While not especially bright, a magnitude -0.6 sporadic from 00:18:34 GMT on 01st August 2015 is notable as a result of its very low Geocentric Velocity (Vg) of 5.9km/s. Observed by Nick James (Chelmsford, Top), Allan Carter (Basingstoke, Left), Nick Quinn (Steyning, Right) and John Mason / Russ Slater (South Downs Planetarium, Chichester) it had a duration of over 9 seconds. It was also detected by Richard Fleet (UKMON, Wilcot). Nick reports that "It was so slow that UFO Capture cut off before the end of the track on both the Chelmsford and Wilcott cameras but it shows a nice persistent train on the video. The orbit is prograde, nearly in the plane of the ecliptic, with a perihelion at Earth's orbit and aphelion at Mars. I've checked the list of Apollo and Amor minor planets but nothing shows up as a possible match for the parent". The fact that the orbit was prograde helps to explain the low Vg: the meteoroid had to catch up with the Earth as it travelled along in its orbit. A review of the .kml file (for Google Earth) also helps to explain the long duration - note the very shallow entry angle of 2.6 degrees which meant that it skimmed along the top of the earth's atmosphere. A steeper entry profile would have resulted it a shorter path and duration ... but a brighter meteor.
03rd August 2015: KiSSMe / NEMETODE Update: We are very pleased to announce that the collaboration between Bill Ward's KiSSMe (Kilwinning Spectroscopic Survey for Meteors) and the NEMETODE team has received a significant boost. Not only has Denis Buczynski realigned his existing 12mm camera, he has also deployed a second camera, this one with a 3.8mm lens. In combination with the existing alignments of David Anderson and Ray Taylor, there is now very good meteor ablation coverage over eastern Scotland, the preferred area over which Bill operates his KiSSMe System. This should significantly increase the likelihood of obtaining good triangulation data for those meteors for which Bill obtains spectra.
27th July 2015: Latest Paper ... and a Busy Team: Just in time for one of the more prominent showers of the year, the August 2015 issue of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association contains our latest paper "Perseids 2013 - Multi-station Meteor Videography". With the growth in the network we're happy to note the inclusion of additional co-authors (Mike Foylan & Michael O'Connell), something we expect to continue with future papers. Speaking of expansion, members of the team have been busy in recent weeks adding additional cameras, upgrading existing systems with more sensitive cameras and lenses and also realigning their setups in order to further optimise the science opportunity. With darker skies returning following the summer solstice, these new configurations are currently being fine tuned for maximum capability. In addition, new observers have recently received their systems and expect to come online in the coming weeks, again just time for the Perseids maximum. Stay tuned for details. In the meantime, many members of the team will be at the "BAA Observers Workshop: Comets and Meteors" event in London on Saturday 26th September 2015 - spaces are limited so if you are interested in attending, please register soon.
18th May 2015: Technical Note #02: In January of this year we released the first in our series of Technical Notes (Watec 902 & 910 Series Cameras). This series of documents consolidates key information relating to some of the equipment in use within the network. Today we're pleased to publish the second in the series, "Troubleshooting Resolution Issues". This Technical Note provides background information relating to video standards and details workflows for optimising resolution settings when using different combinations of cameras and video capture devices. As before, this has been a team effort so many thanks to everyone who has contributed. In the meantime if you have any questions or comments, please get in touch.
17th May 2015 : NEMETODE's 2013 Dataset is now available: The combined .csv file encompassing all meteor observations recorded by the cameras of the NEMETODE network during the period 01st January 2013 to 31st December 2013 is now available here. During this period there were 13302 individual meteor detections with 781 "Q1 Level" common events from four stations and five cameras. Thanks as ever to all the contributors who have collected and analysed this data and who have agreed to make it available.
06th May 2015: BAA Meteor Section Meeting: On Saturday 09th May 2015, the BAA Meteor Section will be holding an all day meeting in Birmingham. As per the agenda, there will be discussions / presentations on multiple meteor observation techniques, as well as results from recent analyses. The event is free and everyone is welcome.
04th May 2015: Fantastic Fragmenter: While not especially bright, a magnitude -2.3 sporadic from 23:39:36 GMT on 29th April 2015 is notable for the fragmentation that it underwent while ablating. Although the event was imaged from Essex and Cheshire, it is Alex Pratt's video from Leeds which shows this event at it's best.
03rd May 2015: Northern Expansion: NEMETODE's meteor ablation layer coverage continues to grow as we welcome Ray Taylor to the team. Ray is based near Skirlaugh in North Yorkshire and has recently achieved "first light" with a Genwac 902H coupled to a Cosmicar / Pentac 3.6mm f0.8 lens. His north-west facing alignment is another welcome addition and provides enhanced coverage over Durham, Northumberland and Southern Scotland and may well assist in providing triangulation data for Bill Ward's KISSME. As ever, we're looking forward to the science that will flow from Ray's system. Welcome aboard!
24th April 2015: Hexavision: With the exception of particularly spectacular events, we normally wait until everyone has analysed their data for the month before reviewing our multi-station captures. However a tweet from Tony Markham and another from Noel Blaney had us looking into our data a little earlier than usual. Although not particularly bright (only a -2.7 Sporadic), this meteor from 00:12:17 GMT on 22nd April 2015 turned out to be notable for the fact that it was observed from six separate NEMETODE cameras with Alex's camera in Leeds framing it perfectly. Although the initial visual report suggested it was a Lyrid (back tracing the trajectory took it towards the active radiant), the multi-station analysis demonstrated that the geocentric velocity and orbital inclination were not a good match with Comet Thatcher, the parent of the Lyrid debris stream. In additional to demonstrating the extensive coverage of the meteor ablation layer over the British Isles, this observation also hints at future possibilities:
For many decades meteors have been recorded visually by dedicated observers who have diligently braved the cold to sit out and document what they have seen. In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the use of automated photographic and video techniques. At the same time the number of visual observers has decreased significantly. Establishing a solid relationship between what is typically seen visually and what is captured using photographic / video techniques is essential if we are to ensure we can draw reliable conclusions as to how meteor showers evolve over time. Comparing the results obtained by dedicated observers such as Tony against the video data from networks such as NEMETODE may allow us to begin establishing such a relationship.
24th April 2015: Bill & David do it Again: On 21st April 2015 at 01:57:57 GMT another sporadic meteor was captured by Bill Ward's KISSME system. David Anderson's video system also imaged it and so for the second time in a fortnight we have triangulation and spectral data on a meteor. It really does look like we have an effective collaboration in place for this sort of work. Well done to everyone concerned!
12th April 2015: Spectorbital: For the past few years the NEMETODE team have been working closely with Bill Ward (based in Kilwinning, Scotland) in order to try and obtain triangulation data on meteors for which Bill has obtained spectral data. Up to now various factors including ablation layer coverage, moonlight and patchy weather have consipred against this endeavour. A few weeks ago however David Anderson and Denis Buczynski realigned their cameras to try and improve the chances of a simultaneous capture with Bill and at 00:58:37 GMT on Friday 10th April 2015 they had a hit when David Anderson imaged the same meteor as Bill's spectral capture system. There's a good chance that Denis has it too ... but today he's speaking at the BAA Winchester Weekend and he won't be able to check his automated system for a few days!
Using data from Bill and David we've been able to generate a provisional trajectory and orbit for this magnitude -2.2 sporadic though the Q-Angle is less than ideal hence this is a provisional result - if Denis has it too then we'll be able to produce a result in which we have more confidence. Bill's analysis suggests it is probably a stony-iron which is consistent with an object that is asteroidal in origin ... this ties in nicely with the provisional low inclination orbit that has an aphelion between Mars and Jupiter.
On a personal note we're absolutely delighted with this result. While we suspect this is the first simultaneous observation of this type from the British Isles (if not then please let us know), it was Bill's Meteor Observers' Forum that ultimately led to the creation of the NEMETODE team and we see this as a long overdue "thanks" to Bill: obtaining spectral data on meteors requires skill and tenacity and it is testament to Bill's perserverence that he's now obtaining spectra on a regular basis with equipment he's designed and built himself. The NEMETODE team are more than happy to augment the science Bill is generating with trajectory and orbit data!
The images below show Bill's meteor image (with the meteor at the bottom and the spectral lines to the upper right), David's image, Bill's spectral analysis (KISSME is the acronym for KIlwinning Spectroscopic Survey for MEteors) and the provisional ground track and orbit. A kml file of the trajectory is available here while more of Bill's spectral captures from other events are available on the Meteor Observers' Forum and the BAA Forum. A richly deserved "Well Done!" to everyone involved - as ever we're all looking forward to the upcoming science and many more similar captures in the future.
04th April 2015: Latest paper makes the April JBAA Cover: A beautiful image of the the fireball over central Scotland on 14th October 2013 makes the front cover of the J. Br. Astron. Assoc. This image was key to the analysis detailed in the resulting paper. The smoke-trail animation (at 0.15s per frame) is available here. Original imagery is courtesy of Marcus McAdam, his full frame animation is available here. David Anderson's video of the event is here while the complete version of Figure 7 (including the arrow) is here. Click on the image below for the paper itself.
25th March 2015: Loch Ness Fireball Update: On Saturday 21st March 2015 Douglas Anderson, Dr David Anderson and Peter McIver were given permission to have a look around the runways, aprons and carparks at Machrihanish Airbase just in case the fireball had dropped fragments downrange from where the terminal flash occurred. This area was chosen due to its proximity to the anticipated dark flight ground track and the fact that the clear, flat areas would be relatively easy to search. David did bring along some meteorites to show others what to look for (these are shown, together with other photographs, here but please note these are samples brought along on the day: nothing resembling a meteorite was found during the search). It is important to stress that the chances that fragments did reach the ground are slim but anyone finding unusual rocks close to the ground track are asked to get in touch.
19th March 2015: A long way from Loch Ness! At 20:59:49 GMT on Sunday 15th March 2015 a fireball was widely observed from many parts of the United Kingdom resulting in multiple online reports (see here and here). Unfortunately there was extensive cloud cover over all NEMETODE cameras ... except for one operated by David Anderson. Not long before the event David had made his setup fully automated so that it would operate autonomously even if he was away from home. This proved fortuitous as the event occured while David was in Norway observing aurora. It wasn't until he returned home the following Tuesday that he discovered he'd captured the early stages of the event. High resolution still images of the event were also captured by John MacDonald from Loch Ness (leading to this event becoming known as the "Loch Ness Fireball" due to the media publicity associated with the image) and by David Corkish from the Isle of Man.
By combining the three observations it has been possible to estimate the trajectory and ground track of the fireball. Investigations are ongoing but it currently appears to have first become visible at 20:59:48.9 GMT at 54° 38' N, 04° 46' W at an altitude of 95km before heading on a bearing of 326°, ending with a terminal flare 8.2s later at 55° 23' N, 05° 38' W at an altitude of 33km. The zenith angle was around 58°. Total observed path length was 117km yielding an average velocity of 14.3km/s. Analysis of David Anderson's video and of John MacDonald's image both result in a magnitude estimate of -10
David Anderson's video of the event, together with an image of the estimated trajectory and ground track are available below.
27th February 2015: New Observers & Additonal Cameras: The growth in the network seen last year continues into 2015 with two new observers joining the network. In recent days David Dunn achieved first light with his camera in Normandy, France - this system provides valuable coverage off the coast of south-east England at a particularly favourable overlap angle to existing cameras within the network. Meanwhile Jon Jones has also recorded his first meteors with a camera based near Chester, England. Facing north-north-east, this system facilitates excellent ablation layer coverage (again, at a perfect overlap angle with existing observers) over the far north-east of England. Please join me in welcoming David & Jon to the group - as ever we're looking forward to the additional science these systems will yield. Last but by no means least, Allan Carter has recently commissioned a third camera from his location in Basingstoke - this system opens up coverage over south-west England and is again a very welcome addition to the network. Well done Allan! This deployment lifts the overall number of cameras in the network to 34 across a team of 21 observers. Stay tuned for updates as additional system deployments together with realignments of existing cameras (all in support of boosting the science return) are expected to occur in the coming weeks.
26th February 2015: Galway Astronomy Festival: On Saturday 21st February 2015 Mike Foylan attended the Galway Astronomy Festival (hosted by Galway Astronomy Club) and took the opportunity to share the NEMETODE Poster Paper he has authored. This paper, together with selection of about 35 meteor videos in a continuous loop and an all sky camera in live mode, garnered significant interest and may lead to addtional observers in Ireland. The picture below shows Dr. Eamonn Ansbro with his poster paper on "Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt Objects - An Outer Solar System High Ecliptic Latitude Survey" on the left and Mike with the NEMETODE paper on the right. Mike plans to attend the upcoming COSMOS 2015 three day astronomy festival in Athlone and have a stand there displaying our work - if you're in the area you're very welcome to stop by. With many thanks to Mike for his hard work on this and for sharing the image below.
28th January 2015: Double Tap: Our latest paper "Eta Aquarids 2013 - Dual-Station Meteor Videography" has just been published in the January 2015 issue of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association - a .pdf is available here. Within the Observers' Forum of the same issue of the journal is an overview of the NROL 35 fuel caught on the Ravensmoor SE Camera back on the 13th December 2014 - again a .pdf is available here.
27th January 2015: NEMETODE Technical Notes: For many years Watec has been the manufacturer of choice when it comes to serious video meteor detection work. Other cameras are available and indeed good results can be obtained using other manufacturers such as Minitron. As it turns out, NEMETODE members all use Watec and over time members of the team have built a wealth of knowledge / experience in the use of these cameras. While much of this information is available elsewhere, there is no good central repository for it and hence we have decided to consolidate it into a single document, specifically NEMETODE Technical Note #01: Watec 902 & 910 Series Cameras. As the name suggests, this is the first in a series of documents that pull together key information that is likely to be of use / interest to video meteor observers. Please feel free to downloand and have a read through ... and if you have any questions / comments, please let us know. The expecation is that this document will be updated as and when new information becomes available.
17th January 2015: Long and Slow: At 05:48:41 GMT on 17th January 2015 an unusually slow and long lasting meteor was observed by Allan Carter (Basingstoke) and Nick James (Chelmsford) passing over south-east England. While not particularly bright, the fact that it lasted over 8 seconds is unusual - towards the end it fragmented and left a wake. Additional imagery, videos and analysis are available here.
06th January 2015: New Year, New Observer: A belated Happy 2015 to everyone! We're pleased to announce that the New Year has brought an additional observer as Nick Quinn, a highly experienced imager based in Steyning, West Sussex has joined the group with a Watec 902H3 Ultimate coupled to a 4mm Computar lens and has already provided valuable data. Nick's ablation layer coverage brings additional overlap with Nick James' south-east facing camera enabling triangulation data to be obtained for meteors coming in off the coast of SE England. Welcome aboard Nick - as ever, looking forward to seeing further results from your system.
15th December 2014: "Always Check your Backgrounds": Is common advice from professional photographers and the NEMETODE team always take a good close look at their images. And so it was in the early hours of 13th December 2014 in the lead up to the Geminds maximum that one of our brighter captures of the night was photo-bombed by the expanding plume of an in-orbit propellant dump from a recently launched rocket. Click on the image below for more details.
09th December 2014: NEMETODE's 2012 Dataset is now available: The combined .csv file encompassing all meteor observations recorded by the cameras of the NEMETODE network during the period 01st April 2012 to 31st December 2012 is now available here. Although the first node of the NEMETODE network (Ravensmoor) went live in October 2010 (see Overview & History) it was not until April 2012 that the second node (Leeds) came online, hence the choice of start month for this dataset. During this period there were 4068 individual meteor detections with 317 "Q1 Level" common events from three stations and five cameras. Thanks as ever to all the contributors who have collected and analysed this data and who have agreed to make it available.
09th December 2014: Meet the Team: Although we are the largest video meteor network operating in the British Isles (currently 18 stations operating 30 cameras ... with more due online soon), it's very important to recognise that our observers are people (as opposed to numbers) ... for that reason we've updated the Overview & History page to provide some additional background on the team members - we'll be updating the page with additional imagery as it comes in but please take a few moments to have a look - we're a very diverse bunch!
07th December 2014: Hot off the Press: Our latest paper "Taurids 2012 - Dual-Station Meteor Videography" has just been published in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association - a .pdf is available here. As ever all our previous papers, plus lots of additional information, is available on our Scientific Results page.
20th November 2014: Allan makes it 30: The recent rapid growth of the network continues as Allan Carter deploys a pair of cameras from his home in Basingstoke, Hampshire. Both make use of the very sensitive Watec 910HX/RC. The first uses a Computar 2.6mm f1.0 lens and faces south / south-west while the second is coupled to a Computar 6mm f0.8 lens pointing north-north-west. Welcome aboard Allan ... with 30 active cameras in the network, meteors are now having extreme difficulty evading detection!
19th November 2014: Fireball(?) over Northern Ireland: Last night (18th November 2014) at 17:27:04 GMT a bright meteor (potentially a fireball) was widely observed from Northern Ireland as reported on the BBC and on the Armagh Observatory Fireball Reports page. While some of the NEMETODE team were clouded out, David Anderson in South Ayrshire captured it. We're still working with other members of the team to confirm whether or not they bagged it. Initial analysis suggests it first became visible between the north coast of Wales and the Isle of Man then travelled north west, passing to the north of Belfast and over Co. Antrim. Additional details to follow as they become available but in the meantime David's video is available below.
Latest Update 20th November 2014: With most results now in, it appears that all other automated cameras covering this part of the country were either clouded out or, due to the relatively early hour, had not yet been activated. As a result it appears that David's video is the only recording of the event. Please get in touch if you are aware of other recordings.
17th November 2014: NEMETODE Grows Again: We're very pleased to announce that Karen Holland has joined the network with the deployment over the weekend of her Watec 902H coupled with a Computar 6mm f0.8 lens. Aligned to the south-east from Moulton, Northampton this system, the 28th in the network, provides additional coverage towards the English Channel, overlapping with cameras operated from Chelmsford and Chichester. Please join me in welcoming Karen to the group - all we need now are some clear skies!
11th November 2014: A Different Michael, another All-Sky Camera: Michael O'Connell has confirmed that his all-sky camera is now operational. The image below shows it in its custom housing alongside the previously deployed 8mm f0.8 system. Michael's new system is based around a Watec 902H2 Supreme coupled to a Comptar 2.6mm f1.0 lens. The huge field of view provides coverage over essentially the whole island of Ireland and is the 27th camera contributing to the network.
04th November 2014: Michael's All-Sky Camera Comes Online: Michael Morris has confirmed that his all-sky camera mentioned in the 01st September 2014 update (see below) is now up and running. Based on a Watec 902H2 Ultimate camera with a Computar 2.6mm f1.0 lens it becomes the 26th camera contributing to the network.
01st November 2014: NEMETODE Hits a Quarter Century: Just in time for what many observers consider to be the best time fo the year for meteors, Mike Harlow from Bucklesham near Ipswich in Suffolk has joined the network with his Genwac 902H Camera fitted with a Computar 6mm f0.8 lens. The deployment of this 25th system in the network provides excellent coverage up along England's eastern coast and the western parts of the North Sea. Please extend a warm welcome to Mike - as ever we're all looking forward to the results that his data will yield. Stay tuned too for additional updates as further systems are currently in the process of being deployed.
09th October 2013:
03rd October 2014: Workshop Update: The BAA/NEMETODE Meteor Section Workshop Meeting held in Birmingham on the 27th September 2014 proved to be a great success. I echo all of the organisers and contributors when I offer my sincere thanks to thanks to everyone who attended for giving up their time to come along, engaging in open, productive discussion and for their positive feedback after the event. In addition to putting faces to names, there was a wealth of on-hand experience and knowledge mixed with lots of debate that helped to tease out answers to some challenging questions.
Being a workshop (as opposed to a meeting - see agenda) much of the value was in the discussions themselves (as opposed to the slides / documents that were shown). Over the past few days I've amended some of the presentation material to include elements of what was discussed (hence the delay in delivering this posting). Over the coming weeks this website will be updated to include further technical details related to what was covered but in the meantime the main slide deck provides an overview of what was used to initiate the discussions. In addition we have the slides from Alex on UFO Capture and UFO Analyser. Enjoy, feel free to get in touch with any questions, and stay tuned for further updates. As a taster, the MS Excel template for analysing the output from Dimension 4 (commonly used for applying time corrections to PCs) is available here.
5th September 2014: David Deploys Another: The 24th camera in the network is now active with the deployment of a third unit by David Anderson. This one faces north-west from David's observatory in Low Craighead, South Ayrshire and monitors the same volume of atmosphere over towards the Isle of Skye as is covered by Denis Buczynski. As far as we know, this is the first time a common meteor layer has been observed over Scotland by observers based within Scotland. Somewhat ironically this camera alignment is similar to that which David was observing when he caught the fireball of 14th October 2013 which is the subject of an upcoming paper. Soon after this event David swung his camera around to the south in order to triangulate with existing members of the NEMETODE team but since then he's augmented his setup with additional units. Congratulations to David - his cameras are prompting some puzzled glances from the locals!.
01st September 2014: 23 and Counting: Today we're pleased to announce that Michael Morris, another very capable observer based in Worcester, has joined the network with a Watec 902H and a 6mm lens. The lifts the total number of active systems up to 23 and provides welcome coverage over a gap that we had over part of the Irish Sea to the south-east of the Isle of Man. Some of you may recall that Michael has had a widefield system in operation for a number of years, data from which played a key role in the investigation of the UK Fireball of 30th March 2013. Michael has also recently upgraded this system too and is working through the commissioning phase. Please extend a warm welcome to Michael - once again we're all looking forward to the results that his data will yield. Our latest meteor layer map showing all 23 cameras is available here.
10th August 2014: And Denis Makes it 22: Up on the Tarbat Pennisula, just to the north of Portmahomack, it is only now that the sun is dipping low enough below the horizon for astronomical observations to recommence after the long summer hiatus. Last night Denis Buczynski began commissioning his new meteor camera and in spite of the less than ideal conditions (twilight and the full "super" moon), he managed to bag a few meteors, including this Perseid. Still some fine tuning to do but seasoned observers will recognise the stars of Andromeda and Triangulum ... a closer inspection to the upper right of the image also reveals the faint smudge of M31, the Andromeda Galaxy - testament to the powerful combination of the Watec 902H camera and Computar 12mm f0.8 lens that Denis has deployed. This system lifts the total number of active units in the NEMETODE network to 22. With additional deployments imminent, we're expecting to increase our triangulation coverage into the far north of Scotland in the very near future. Welcome aboard Denis!
30th July 2014: The orthogonal observing azimuths of the Chelmsford / South Downs Planetarium combination is proving to be remarkably effective as they both imaged another spectacular on 31st July 2014 at 22:12:24 BST. While there's still some work to do to optimise the video settings, the results show what can be obtained even during the "bedding in" period. Really looking forward to seeing results from the Perseids from which were already seeing enhanced activity. This particular event was a magnitude -2.3 sporadic and, as Nick remarked, would have been overhead for the concrete cows in Milton Keynes.
30th July 2014: High over Heathrow: Our newer deployments have been having some notable successes, particularly now that meteor activity is picking up as we progress into the second half of the year. A recent notable example was this magnitude -2.9 sporadic that passed over south-west London on the 26th July 2014 at 23:13:59 BST. The trail was so long that it was picked up by both of Nick James' cameras in Chelmsford, even though they face in opposite directions. One of the two cameras at South Downs Planetarium also detected it, allowing us to estimate the ground track and orbit. This Google Earth file shows how the ground track clipped the north-east corner of Heathrow Airport ... no hazard to passengers - meteors typically burn out at an altitude that is seven times higher than that at which passenger jets cruise.
26th July 2014: Sprites in Print: Our latest scientific paper, "Recordings of 'Sprites' by Video Meteor Detection Cameras" has just been published in the August 2014 issue of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association. This paper relates to the July 2013 NEMETODE sprite observations. The images, by their nature, are relatively faint, particularly when seen on the printed page - electronic versions are available on our Sprites page while our previous papers (and details of upcoming ones) are available here.
19th July 2014: Carrots off the Cork Coast: Depending on your perspective, the British Isles have recently been blessed or blighted with a number of violent and in some cases long lasting thunderstorms. The extensive coverage of the NEMETODE network meant that there was a reasonable chance that sprites resulting from these lightning discharge events could be captured and the team kept a close eye on their images. Hundreds of lightning flashes were recorded, including a lightning bolt observed from Ravensmoor. However the first to bag a sprite this time around was Gordon Reineke, observing from Newbridge in Co Kildare. He imaged the tops of three different groups of "carrot" sprites that occurred off the coast of Co Cork, approximately 300km to his south-west on the night of 17th / 18th July 2014 at 23:56:16, 00:06:04 and 00:11:22 (all times BST). Further details are available on our Sprites page. Congratulations to Gordon who has only recently deployed a camera and joined the network!
17th July 2014: Getting Lucky on the First Night: As described below, David Anderson's second camera last night became the 21st active camera in the NEMETODE network. It was a late night for David as he was up until midnight troubleshooting a minor electrical connection issue on the system prior to going to bed. As luck would have it, David's skill and perserverence paid off as his latest deployment was up and running in time to catch a rather bright meteor on 17th July 2014 at 02:59:26 BST. This maginitude -5.6 sporadic fireball came in just to the east of the Isle of Man and exhibited a number of terminal flares (bright flashes, just before it disappeared from view). The earlier stages of its flight were within the field of view of David's first camera though intervening clouds prevented it from being detected, an issue which prevented other NEMETODE cameras from picking it up. We ended up getting it on three cameras: Alex from Leeds imaged it through extensive cloud while William in Ravensmoor, by a complete fluke, had clear skies and perfect framing. Of course this event was a rather nice christening for David's #2. Click on the images below for videos / enlarged versions (the bright, stationary object in the uppermost image from David, obscured by clouds, is the moon) and here for an interactive Google Earth file (courtesy of Graham Roche). Armagh's Fireball Report Page contains visual reports of this event. Note that the Ravensmoor camera has been rotated clockwise through 90 degrees within its housing in order to minimise local overlap (see Nodes) and so what appears to be the bottom of the field of view is actually the left hand side.
17th July 2014: Plugging the Gaps (Part 3): We're now able to confirm that David Anderson has setup a second system, a Watec 902H2 Ultimate with a Cosmicar Pentax 6mm f0.75 lens, from his home in Low Craighead, South Ayrshire. Facing south-east, this system improves our coverage over northern England and in the coming weeks we will be re-aligning other cameras in the network in order to optimise our triangulation opportunities over this part of the country.
In addition, we're pleased to announce that John Mason & Russ Slater have deployed two systems at the South Downs Planetarium in Chichester, both of which utilise Watec 902H cameras equipped with 6mm lenses. The first faces north and provides additional triangulation overlap with some of our existing assets that cover central and eastern England. The second faces east and overlaps with Nick James' camera that faces south-east from Chelmsford, thus enabling us to collect excellent triangulation data over Kent and the English Channel.
Once again, congratulations and welcome to everyone who has recently deployed new systems and / or joined the network. NEMETODE now has a total of twenty-one active cameras: meteors passing over the Britsih Isles are finding it increasingly difficult to evade detection and we're all looking forward to the exciting science that will result from the observations these cameras will make. Finally thanks are due to Michael O'Connell who has helped provide some of the key technology, specifically a quantity of Watec 902H cameras, that has helped fuel some of the recent expansion of the network. In the meantime a (further) updated map is available below while the colour scheme explanation is given here.
14th July 2014: Plugging the Gaps (Part 2): In our previous update we mentioned that there were other observers who had already deployed their cameras. We're now in a position to confirm that Graham Roche (of sprite detection fame) has re-deployed his Watec 902H2 Ultimate and Computar 8mm f0.8 lens to his north-east from his home in Dublin. In addition Nick James, who for many years has run a meteor detection camera pointing south-east from Chelmsford using self develped software (!) has now deployed a second camera to his north-west. Each system is an identical configuration of a Watec 902H2 Ultimate and Computar 3.8mm f0.8 lens and both now run on the SonotaCo software platform. Graham and Nick already have extensive experience in this field and we're very much looking forward to the insights their data will provide. This brings the total number of active cameras in the network to eighteen. Again, we have additional imminent deployments - in the meantime the (further) updated map is available below while the colour scheme explanation is given here. There may very well be a Part 3 towards the end of this week!
13th July 2014: Plugging the Gaps (Part 1): While recorded activity in the meteor layer has been somewhat sparse in recent weeks, there has been extensive activity 80km below it with four new observers joining the network. Starting in the west, Gordon Reineke has deployed a Watec 902H2 Supreme with a Cosmicar 6mm lens from Newbridge, Co. Kildare providing us with coverage over the south-west of the Republic of Ireland; Steve Johnston and Graham Salmon have each commissioned a Watec 902H with a Cosmicar 6mm from Warrington and Blockley respectively, enabling triangulation over Wales and finally Ian Williams has setup a Watec 902H with a Computar 6mm lens facing north-east from his home in Tamworth. These new systems, together with data from Mike Foylan's north facing camera based in Rathmoylan, Co Meath bring the total number of active cameras in the network to fifteen. Additonal details are availble here and the updated coverage map giving details of the colour scheme is here. Further cameras are either deployed or are in the process of being commissioned - will provide an update in Part 2 in the coming days. In the meantime, congratulations and welcome to the new observers ... it's just got a little more difficult for meteors to evade detection!
18th June 2014: A Bright One through the Twilight: This time of year is characterised by relatively few meteor captures, a result of the absence of major showers in the northern hemisphere, short nights and the fact that it never gets particularly dark up at our observing latitudes. This situation will begin to improve as we get past the summer solstice this weekend but in the meantime we picked up this relatively bright sporadic (magnitude -2.9) meteor that came in just to the east of the Isle of Man on 17th June 2014 at 00:17:00 BST. Again this is not far from where the meteors of 15th and 20th April came in (see below) - this particular part of the British Isles isn't especially favoured for meteors, it just so happens that we have good coverage over that region. Note that the Ravensmoor camera has been rotated clockwise through 90 degrees within its housing in order to minimise local overlap (see Nodes) and so what appears to be the bottom of the field of view is actually the left hand side.
24th May 2014: The Day After the Night Before: It was always going to be somewhat of a challenge for the Camelopardalids (CAMs) to live up to the hype and, somewhat predictably, reports from prime observing locations over North America suggest that rather than producing a storm (defined as a ZHR > 1000), they produced a more modest ZHR of between 5 and 10. The time of the maximum was predicted to occur between 06:00 and 08:00 GMT (after the sun rose here in the British Isles) and so hopes here were pinned on seeing a few early ones before daybreak. Alas the weather wasn't cooperative and all but two nodes were clouded out. Jeremy and William, based on Cheshire, were lucky enough to get two hours of clear skies between midnight and 02:00 GMT. Between them they detected 30 seperate meteors, none of which were multi-station captures.
23rd April 2014: Latest Publication: An overview of meteor videography is given in the May 2014 issue of Astronomy Now magazine ...
20th April 2014: An Eggcellent Fireball on Easter Sunday: This maginitude -5.2 sporadic fireball came in just to the east of the Isle of Man on 20th April 2014 at 01:16:34 BST, not far from where the 15th April bright sporadic came in (see below). This one is interesting in that it exhibits a number of terminal flares (bright flashes, just before it disappears from view). In addition to being imaged by three NEMETODE cameras from Low Craighead, Leeds and Ravensmoor, Bill Ward also managed to get it too from Kilwinning - Bill's video is available here. Bill was out attempting to obtain spectra of Lyrid meteors - alas the diffraction grating in use to obtain spectra was aligned orthogonal to the Lyrid radiant, not the radiant of this fireball - as a consequence no spectra was recorded for this event. Bill is one of a very small number of people in the British Isles attempting to obtain and analyse meteor spectra. With the expanding NEMETODE coverage it's only a matter of time before we have trajectory and orbital data to compliment Bill's chemical composition data on a meteoroid. As ever with chance events such as these, it's a case of right time, right place, right equipment ... we should now add to this list right alignment of equipment! Note that the Ravensmoor camera has been rotated clockwise through 90 degrees within its housing in order to minimise local overlap (see Nodes) and so what appears to be the bottom of the field of view is actually the left hand side.
16th April 2014: Another Bright One: As the saying goes, you wait ages for one, then a couple come along in quick succession!. This bright sporadic came in just to the east of the Isle of Man on 15th April 2014 at 22:22:21 BST. The view from Leeds is on the left with meteor passing through the constellation Auriga while from Ravensmoor (shown on the right) it passed just to the left of Cassiopeia. Of note are the orbits derived from each station - they are almost exactly concurrent indicating this was a very precise observation. Note that the Ravensmoor camera has been rotated clockwise through 90 degrees within its housing in order to minimise local overlap (see Nodes) and so what appears to be the bottom of the field of view is actually the left hand side.
14th April 2014: We're Going to Need a Bigger
14th April 2014: Bright & Fragmenting through the Murk: Observing conditions on the evening of were far from ideal with a bright moon and thin cloud but in spite of these challenges NEMETODE cameras in Leeds and Ravensmoor picked up this sporadic meteor on 11th April 2014 at 21:19:10 BST. Not only was it bright enough to be seen despite the weather (note that very few stars are visible) but it is notable in that it displayed a distinct fragmentation event at the end of the trail. The NEMETODE magnitude estimate of 0.3 is likely to be an under-estimate. This meteor was also imaged by Martin Kessel from Weston Coyney, Stoke on Trent and was also seen visually from Haydock, Merseyside. Just a pity that the skies weren't clearer as this was a particularly good one. Note that the Ravensmoor camera has been rotated clockwise through 90 degrees within its housing in order to minimise local overlap (see Nodes) and so what appears to be the bottom of the field of view is actually the left hand side.
29th March 2014: Back from the Printers: Our latest paper, "Isle of Lewis Fireball of 2013 October 14", has now been published in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association - a .pdf is available here.
19th March 2014: Off to the Printers: Have just received confirming that one of our previously accepted papers, "Isle of Lewis Fireball of 14th October 2013" will appear in the April 2014 Issue of the JBAA - a .pdf will be available here following publication.
21st February 2014: NEMETODE gets another Segment: Today we're pleased to welcome Jeremy Shears to the NEMETODE team with the addition of his Watec 902H and Computar 3.8mm f0.8 lens operating from his observatory in Bunbury, Cheshire. Jeremy's system now allows multi-station coverage over western England, a region that was previously unavailable to us. This brings the total NEMETODE team to six nodes and nine permanently deployed cameras. Additional cameras and nodes are pending and of course the network is occasionally augmented with temporarily deployed units. There is still lots of sky that is not monitored adequately so anyone interested in participating is encouraged to get in touch. In the meantime a very warm welcome to Jeremy!
16th February 2014: Rock Star: We can now confirm that the event observed on 13th February was almost certainly a natural object and not a re-entering satellite. What initially sparked our interest was the fact that the geocentric velocity (ie the velocity with respect to the centre of the earth) was relatively low (5.5km/s). This is below the earth's escape velocity (11.2km/s) and could therefore be indicative of something that is (or was) in low earth orbit. The trajectory however was very unusual for a satellite (with an earth orbit inclination of circa 108 degrees). Further analysis showed that the atmospheric velocity was of the order of 12.5km/s which is higher than the earth's escape velocity ... the object must therefore have been in a heliocentric (sun-centred) orbit. The low geocentric velocity was a consequence of the object and the earth having similar orbital speeds and hence a low relative velocity as they caught up with each other (think relay racers passing on a baton). The derived solar orbit suggests the object may belong to the Apollo asteroid group of Near Earth Objects. We'd like to acknowledge the assistance of Cees Bassa, Ted Molzcan, Marco Langbroek and Jonathan McDowell for their analysis, comment and conclusions on this observation - all of which are very much appreciated.
14th February 2014: Potential Satellite Reentry? On the 13th February 2014 at 06:07:36 GMT NEMETODE cameras detected what appeared to be meteor - unusually it was particularly long lasting with a duration of over 12 seconds and magnitude of 0.1. We're still investigating this event as the low Vg (Geocentric Velocity) value suggests it may be man-made space debris. A significant note of caution is the fact that it travelled on a trajectory from north-east to south-west which is unusual for artificial satellites (most travel roughly west to east). Will post updates here as they become available. Click on the images below for videos / larger versions. Note that the Ravensmoor cameras have been rotated clockwise through 90 degrees within their housings in order to minimise local overlap (see Nodes) and so what appears to be the bottom of the field of view is actually the left hand side.
11th February 2014: Great Balls of Fire: While January 2014 has been one of the wettest on record for some parts of the British Isles, the northern half of the country seems to have escaped the worst of the floods. The clouds however have still been there and as a consequence the totals for the month are relatively low. February has seen a slight improvement, just in time for what is often referred to as "fireball season". Right on cue NEMETODE is starting to see an increase with the following sporadic being a borderline fireball at magnitide -4.0 recorded on 10th February at 04:26:46 GMT. We managed to get excellent orbital data on this one due to the orthogonal angles between the event and the observing stations in Leeds and Ravensmoor.
15th January 2014: Flash Bang Emergency: A very bright, slow moving meteor was detected on at least three NEMETODE cameras on 15th January 2014 at 18:45:16 GMT. Initial trajectory analysis suggests it became visible to the west of Anglesey, before heading on a east-north-east trajectory across the Irish Sea towards Blackpool. Visual observers are strongly encouraged to submit their reports to the Armagh Fireball Report Page. More to follow but in the meantime videos, further details and an analysis are available here.
It now seems probable that this bright meteor was responsible for the triggering and subsequent emergency response reported here and here. The sonic boom from the meteor could have been the loud noise reported by locals around 19:00 GMT as it would have taken approximately 10 minutes to reach South Wales. The bright meteor has been reported to the Coastguard at Milford Haven and they concur that it (currently) is the most likely explanation. ... individuals who believe they may have heard the sonic boom are requested to submit their report to the Armagh Fireball Report Page ... of particular interest will be their location and the precise time at which they heard the sound.
15th January 2014: New Year, New Journal Publication: Our latest paper, "The United Kingdom Fireball of 30th March 2013: Observation and Analysis using NEMETODE and Visual Data" has just been published in WGN, the Journal of the IMO 41:6 (2013, December) - click here for a copy. Videos of the fireball, together with larger images of the ground track and orbit are available here.
19th December 2013: Pre-Dawn Fireball?: On 19th December 2013 at 07:58 GMT a bright meteor was observed over the UK - reports soon started to appear on Twitter (initial consolidated list here) and on the Armagh Fireball Report Page. Most meteor cameras across the UK had by this time shut down due to the imminent sunrise but NEMETODE cameras operated by Alex Pratt in Leeds and William Stewart in Ravensmoor were still operating and captured the early stages of the event. Alex's camera commenced automatic shutdown 71 seconds after the meteor occurred! Videos, details and an analysis are available here.
Further analysis to follow. In the meantime visual observers are strongly encouraged to submit their reports to the Armagh Fireball Report Page. Of particular interest will be the observer's location, the cardinal direction at which the meteor faded to invisibility, the angle above the horizon at which it faded to invisibility and an estimate of the maximum brightness of the meteor in comparison to, for example, the Moon or Venus. While the videos provide good information relating to the start of the meteor trail, the visual reports will be essential in determining the maximum brightness and whether or not the meteor did indeed pass over the coast and out to sea.
14th December 2013: Geminids Hit the Headlines: The night of 13th / 14th December 2013 has proved to have been extremely busy with well in excess of 1200 individual meteor detections by NEMETODE. Sky News have been running some NEMETODE Geminid videos from last night on their rolling news programme and on their website. It will take some time to complete the analysis of all of the detections ... as a taster the image below relates to a bright Geminid meteor observed at on 13th December 2013 at 23:41:38 GMT that was imaged from three NEMETODE nodes. This is why the network exists: it is by imaging the same event from different locations that we are able to determine, among other things, the ground track and original solar orbit. Videos, details and an analysis are available here. Enjoy the show!
09th December 2013: NEMETODE more than doubles in size and becomes an International Collaboration: We're very proud to announce that in recent weeks three additional experienced meteor observers have joined NEMETODE and as a consequence we have significantly increased our coverage and capability. In addition to David Anderson's observatory in SW Scotland, we also now have observations from Mike Foylan and Michael O'Connell from the Republic of Ireland. Alex Pratt has also deployed a second camera from his location in West Yorkshire. Additional details and an updated coverage map are available here. A very warm welcome to David, Mike and Michael.
30th November 2013: Green Fireball over Macclesfield: We have received reports of a "Green Fireball over Macclesfield, Cheshire" on 29th November 2013 at 21:00:04 GMT ... videos, details and an analysis are available here.
24th November 2013: Latest Papers. Our latest paper, "Taurids 2012 - Dual-Station Meteor Videography", has just been accepted for journal publication. We've a few more in peer review and additional ones in draft. In the meantime our papers "Geminids 2012 - Multi-Station Meteor Videography" and "A Modern Video Meteor Detection System and Network - Overview and Typical Costs" have been published in the December 2013 issue of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association. See here for additional details. We're now working through our data for October and November!
18th September 2013: Yaogan 17 Deployment Video. In the early hours of 02nd September 2013, the Ravensmoor South East camera made a serendipitous recording of the deployment of the three payload elements of the Chinese reconnaissance satellite Yaogan 17 - a video, detals and analysis is available here.
10th September 2013: September Perseids Outburst? Reports are coming in that on 09th September 2013 between 22.00 and 23.00 UTC there was a spike in the frequency and brightness of the September Perseid (SPE) meteors. References include the IMO Flux Viewer, IMO-News, MeteorObs and Spaceweather. NEMETODE also recorded this outburst. Between 20:00 and 04:00 UTC the NEMETODE cameras recorded 23 individual SPE meteors. A total of 14 SPEs were captured between 22:00 and 23:00 UTC (compared with a predicted maximum ZHR of 5), 3 of which were dual-station events. Capture and analysis was performed using SonotaCo's UFO program suite, with the following provisional results:
NEMETODE will complete a fuller analysis against the background of the overall shower in the comng weeks.
12th August 2013: The Case of the Name Changing Fireball: This magnitude -5.6 fireball appeared on 12th August 2013 at 01:26:02 GMT / 02:26:02 BST. Initial indications were that it was either a Kappa Cygnid or an August Draconid though further analysis revealed that it was in fact a sporadic. With so many meteor showers (both confirmed and unconfirmed), this example demonstrates the value of a network dedicated to meteor trajectory triangulation. Videos, details and an analysis are available here.
28th July 2013: Our 1st Birthday (well, sort of). As NEMETODE celebrates its first birthday as a fully operational multi-station group, we thought it would be a good time to look back on our results over the past twelve months. As many of you will know, the weather in the latter half of 2012 was somewhat less than ideal and this had a significant impact on the quality and quantity of detections over the busiest time of the year for shower meteors. The plot below was produced using SonotaCo's UFO Orbit software. Each dot on the plot below shows the triangulated radiant position of a meteor that was simultaneously observed from at least one NEMETODE camera since the multi-station collaboration commenced. The colour indicates the geocentric velocity such as the speedy Perseids (orange dots, above and to the left of centre), the even faster Orionids and eta Aquarids (red dots) and the relatively slow Geminids and Taurids (green dots). The random (unclustered) dots are from sporadic meteors. No dots are apparent in the lower third of the plot as that part of the sky never rises above the horizon as viewed from the British Isles.
With additional cameras coming online and the hope of clearer skies (compared to 2012) we expect to add significantly to our dataset over the coming months.
06th May 2013: Close but no Cigar: The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is currently active ... always a bit of a challenge as the radiant (that part of the sky from which the meteors appear to originate) does not rise above the local horizon until shortly before sunrise. This one happened on 06th May 2013 at 03:12:41 GMT / 04:12:41 BST and was magnitude -3.6 (so not quite a fireball). Videos, details and an analysis are available here.
31st March 2013: Smaller, Fainter and Faster: So not quite as Big, Bright and Slow but remarkable nonetheless, if nothing else because it happened on 30th March 2013 at 21:56:25 GMT, ie the the same day as the one mentioned below. Videos, details and an analysis are available here.
30th March 2013: Big, Bright and Slow: What has to be the brightest fireball detected to date by the NEMETODE network occurred this morning, 30th March 2013 at 00:39:13 GMT. At its peak it was of the order of magnitude -7 but what is more remarkable was the slow speed across the sky. This one may result in a paper! Videos, details and an analysis are available here.
09th January 2013: Another Camera in Ravensmoor and a Bright Sporadic: Some spare time over the festive period, coupled with the generosity of a bearded chap in a red suit, has enabled a third camera to be deployed from Ravensmoor. Just in time to capture this bright sporadic which occurred on 09th January 2013 at 03:28:48 GMT. Videos, details and an analysis are available here.
09th November 2012: Northern Taurid Fireball: Well we did warn you that things were getting busy! This spectacular magnitude -6.5 flaring fireball occurred on 08th November 2012 at 23:54:20 GMT. Videos, details and an analysis are available here.
06th November 2012: Bright Southern Taurid: Things tend to get busy at this time of year (and we're not talking about Christmas Shopping) as northern hemisphere observers enjoy enhanced activity from multiple showers. From Leeds this event passed through Orion on 06th November 2012 at 01:02:41 GMT. Videos, details and an analysis are available here.
02nd November 2012: Bright Sporadic Meteor: Has been a while since we reported anything of note ... this one occurred on 01st November 2012 at 18:35:37 GMT and our vew of this one even includes satellite debris resulting from an on orbit collision (some satellites were harmed prior to the making of this video). Videos, details and an analysis are available here.
10th August 2012: Bright Perseid Meteor: Last night we detected a rather bright Perseid meteor on 09th August 2012 at 21:32:49 GMT / 22:32:49 BST. Not quite a fireball but bright enough to prompt members of the public to report their sightings. We even have a flock of birds in the capture (no animals were harmed in the making of this video) ... details and an analysis are available here.