Video Detections

The composite images below are a stack of the current month’s captures from two security cameras, and the last good night’s data from a Pi camera. During quiet times you may only see two or three meteors on the images, but during showers such as Geminids, Perseids or Quadrantids, there may be 50-100 detections per night so these images will get very busy! Click on an image to see a larger version.

Video detection of meteors is perhaps more spectacular than radio detection, because occasionally we pick up a fireball or other interesting event… (continued below)

I’m using two different sorts of software: the UFOCapture suite is designed to operate with security cameras. It records constantly but discards the video unless movement takes place, in which case it saves a 5-10 second clip. The RMS software captures video all night from a cheap barebones IP camera, then processes it in the morning to eliminate all the sequences without movement in.

With both sets of data, it is essential check the following day to eliminate planes, satellites, birds and clouds, then the data can be processed to estimate the shower, velocity and direction of the meteor. This analysis generates files which can be combined with other stations to accurately triangulate the meteor’s trajectory as it hit our atmosphere. From this we can work out the meteoroid’s orbit. Other characteristics allow us to estimate its size and weight – and whether it might have survived to reach the ground.

There is a live stream from many of the UKMON cameras available here. We do catch a lot of aircraft so you could filter for my cameras TACKLEY_TC and TACKLEY_NE to see if that is more interesting.

If you see or hear of a fireball, its worth checking our cameras to see if we caught it. And please do use the form on either the SPA or UKMON websites to make a report of your own. Both of these will submit a report to the International Meteor Organization.