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BAA Journal 2017 August

Video meteor spectroscopic and orbital observations, 2015 April to 2016 April

Journal issue: 2017 August
Pages: 217–222

Many observers, both amateur and professional, use the compact Watec CCTV cameras. These cameras have become particularly popular due to good performance at relatively low cost. The rapid growth in the number of observers using video techniques has led to the formation of many groups undertaking multi-station observations in order to obtain orbital information about meteors.
One such group is the Network for Meteor Triangulation and Orbit Determination (NEMETODE). At the time of writing, NEMETODE has multiple stations with 57 cameras in operation across the UK, Ireland and France. Members of the NEMETODE group use a variety of systems including Watec, Genwac and KPF video cameras.
Video meteor observations have been carried out at Kilwinning since 2004. In 2008 a decision was made to develop spectroscopic techniques as there seemed to have been very little done in this field with regards to the use of video systems. Initial results indicated that whilst of limited resolution a sufficient number of spectra could be captured to contribute viable results. The first results of this effort were presented at the International Meteor Conference held in Armagh in 2010.2 Due to improvements in equipment over time the camera system is now operated in a ‘survey mode’. That is, the cameras in the system now use lenses carrying gratings at all times to try to capture as many spectra as possible.
This review clearly demonstrates the advances now being made in (amateur) meteor astronomy. From orbital studies it is possible to say where the meteoroid ‘came from’, thus possibly leading to a determination of a parent body. With spectroscopic analysis an outline of the meteoroid’s composition can be made, saying what the meteoroid was ‘made of’ and perhaps indicating whether cometary or asteroidal. By combining the multi-station orbital observations with spectroscopic observations there is the ability to gain a much more complete insight into the Earth’s meteoroid environment.
Until recently such work was only possible by a few established professional observatories, but this is no longer the case!

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