Clear sky monitoring conditions -Detection of fireballs/meteors

Forums Meteors Clear sky monitoring conditions -Detection of fireballs/meteors

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    Eric Watkins

    Whilst checking for the current state of the sky using all sky cameras at various observatory sites of LCOGT observatories. I noticed how good some of these images are.  The exposure times for individual frames  are 30 sec and run throughout  the night and show good detail.  Could there be away of utilising such images to detect bright fireballs/meteors? The images would seem to be stored as it is possible to view the previous 24hrs as a show.  Other observatories may use similar procedeurs.

    I would imagine the observatories would be willing to make available the image data. However, I would not like to sit and watch through the images for  even one night let.  Possibly those far more able than myself could device software to read the images with set parameters to detect something unusual?


    Jeremy Shears

    Hello Eric,

    I have not looked at those all sky images, but they sound intriguing.

    I am sure they would show meteors and perhaps the occasional fireball. The really interesting part of imaging meteors/fireballs is to obtain an orbit for the object and, ultimately, to identify the parent body. However, to do this one needs data from (at least) 2 sites a few 10s of km apart, to allow triangulation. Also needed is good time resolution during the passage of the object to obtain the velocity of the object.

    Kind regards,


    Eric Watkins

    Ahh yes of course.  Just a thought that came to me  without thinking it through.

    Cheers Eric

    Dominic Ford

    I did at one point briefly consider using an SBIG AllSky-340 camera for my own meteor camera work (instead of a Watec 902H2 Ultimate).

    Unfortunately there were lots of reasons why it didn’t really seem to fit the bill. Even though you can set custom exposure lengths, it communicates with the PC via a slow serial link, making quick exposures almost impossible. By contrast, the Watec camera delivers 25 frames per second. As Jeremy says, you really need that many frames to catch fast meteors.

    The other issue is that having bright lights in the field of view is a real nuisance. You get blooming and internal reflections. The slightest muck on your glass gets illuminated. A limited field of view actually helps keep unwanted light out — the metal CCTV housing acts as a lens hood.

    It was a real shame, because I wanted an excuse to buy an AllSky-340 to play with 😉

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