Meteor Scatter Workshop

2015 Oct 31

Radio Meteor Scatter provides 24 hour-a-day coverage of meteor activity, under all sky conditions. 

The equipment is no more difficult to install than a video camera and provides useful information on activity profiles and individual meteor events which can then be used to supplement visual and video coverage.

The BAA Meteor Section and Radio Astronomy Group are organising a joint workshop event covering the opportunities available from meteor scatter observations.  The day will be aimed at helping both beginners who wish to set up a meteor observing system, and existing observers keen to develop their activities and contribute to an organised observing campaign. 

The keynote speaker will be Jean-Louis Rault who is President of the Radioastronomy Commission of the Société Astronomique de France and the International Meteor Organisation Radio Commission Officer. He will talk on the areas of meteor science domains where radio observations are producing valuable data, what can be done using amateur-level equipment, and the scope for pro-am collaborations using the French FRIPON programme (see as an example.  Other talks during the day will include the practical aspects of setting up a meteor scatter receiving system and how to submit observations.

The event is open to all those wanting to learn more about meteor scatter and pre-booking is recommended (click for more information).  The cost for the meeting is £8.00 for BAA members and £12.00 for non-members, which includes tea/coffee during the day.  There are several catering establishments within a few minutes’ walk of the meeting venue or you are welcome to bring your own lunch.

Outline agenda
Topic Speaker
10:00 – 10:30 ARRIVAL & Coffee
10:30 – 10:35 Welcome John Mason
10:35 – 11:25

The opportunities from meteor scatter

The presentation will cover the areas of meteor science where radio observations are producing valuable data, what can be done using amateur-level equipment, and the scope for pro-am collaborations using the French FRIPON programme (see as an example.

Jean-Louis Rault
11:25 – 12:05

Building a meteor scatter observing station for GRAVES

A summary of meteor antenna construction based on recent college project experience with the design published in Sky at Night Magazine.  Discussing the bill of materials required and cost of the system, construction steps, mounting and location options.  Additional system options under investigation by RAG will also be covered, including signal amplification, filtering and use of the budget RTL2832 SDR Dongle.

Chris Jackson & Ratcliffe students
12:05 – 12:45

Observing with Spectrum Lab.

Spectrum Lab is a versatile application that can be used for detecting meteor events and capturing information about them.  However this same versatility can make Spectrum Lab difficult to set up.  This talk will provide a brief summary of the application’s capabilities and limitations and show how the new user can quickly configure the system to capture screen shots, audio and data files from the day’s meteor activity.

Paul Hyde
12:45 – 14:00


Lunch is not included in the entrance charge but there are several options within a few minutes’ walk of the venue.  Bring your own lunch if you wish.  The lunch interval will provide an opportunity to browse hardware and poster displays and, if there is interest, we will include a practical demonstration of using Spectrum Lab.

14:00 – 14:40

Improving the quality of meteor data – Scatterthon

Current meteor detection algorithms are imperfect and can result in poor quality data.  Scatterthon is an application currently being developed to help review and categorise meteor events to increase the accuracy, and hence the value, of radio observations.

Victoria Penrice
14:40 – 15:20

Correlating video meteors with GRAVES radio detections

There are many video cameras and radio scatter stations operating in the UK but not much sign of the two being matched up. This talk will be about early attempts to tie the video captures from a single station to particular meteor scatter events. This could be very useful as it gives more specific information about the individual meteors that cause the radar echoes.

Richard Fleet
15:20 – 15:30

Proposed Observing Campaign

One of the objectives for the day will be to kick off a coordinated observing campaign using meteor scatter

Paul Hyde

15:30 – 16:00


Plus an opportunity for potential observers to register their details

16:00 – 16:30

Actual Observation Experiences

Observing the Quadrantids using the BRAMS meteor beacon (49.97 MHz) and measurements on the Lyrids using the GRAVES space radar system (143.05 MHz)

James and Gerry Lowe
16:30 – 17:10

Using backscatter radar for determining meteor properties

The modern technique is purely geometrical and measures the position in the sky for a meteor, its track and its velocity. Statistical studies then allow for radiant determination. There is sufficient information available for many events to calculate orbital parameters. The instrumentation consists of a single transmitter, co-located with five receiver/antennae, and assisted by a pair of outstation receivers a few kilometres away.

Jeff Lashley
17:10 – 17:15 CLOSURE Paul Hyde


Northampton Natural History Society, Castilian Terrace, Northampton, NN1 1LD

google map code for website

Booking Information

Unfortunately, this meeting is now sold out.