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Meteor Hourly Rates

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Meteor Hourly Rates

I ask this as a serious question from a radio meteor observer.  I appreciate the different regimes for visual, video and radio observations i.e. the physical mechanisms for ionisation and emissions, the sensitivities of observation methods and availability of measurements.  Although there have been a number of papers in the IMO journal (WGN) on possible velocity measurement from head echoes, there is very little that can be extracted of a physical nature from radio measurements.  

One area where radio meteor observations can provide information on a full basis is the hourly rate of meteor events.  My question therefore is; how can these data, of obvious scientific value as a record of activity, be sensibly used by the meteor community?

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Meteor Hourly Rates

Apparently not ...

Tracie Heywood's picture
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Meteor echo counts

I'm a visual observer rather than a radio observer, but I'll reply as best I can.

To quote from the (forward scatter) radio observing notes in use during my time as SPA Meteor Section Director:

"Radio meteor detection does not differentiate between shower meteors and sporadics and therefore your counts will represent the total meteor activity detected. The number of echoes detected will depend on many factors, including the sensitivity of your equipment, your distance from the transmitter, the direction of the shower radiant relative to the transmitter and your receiver, and, of course, the activity level of the meteor shower. The more sensitive radio systems are also capable of picking up echoes related to particles smaller than those that produce naked eye meteors and therefore the relative strengths of meteor showers seen by radio observers can differ from those seen by visual observers."

Combining the count numbers seen by different observers is therefore difficult, but different observers should agree on the timing of any spikes in rates.

What can and can't be seen in terms of radio echo counts is illustrated well by Bill Ward's echo count graphs in this SPA report for the 2016 Perseid peak   https://www.popastro.com/main_spa1/meteor/perseids-2016-more-reports/

Hence, my impression is that meteor radio echo counts primarily provide an interesting additional source of information that can be viewed alongside visual and video observing reports (and radio observations are of course are a useful fallback for observers frustrated by overcast skies).

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Thank you for your reply.  I

Thank you for your reply.  I understand the limitations of radio meteor detection and the differences there are between different radio observers (IMO talk about this).  I too produce continuous counts allowing me to detect the diurnal and seasonal change in the background non-shower echoes and of course the shower peaks. There are also the results from daytime showers that are cannot observed by video or visual observers. Are these of scientific value to the meteor community (at BAA) ?

You suggest that radio meteor detection are used as a adjunct to visual/video observers, but how are they used in their studies?  Would I be right then to assume that the only use of radio meteor data is when it is used in this way and that continuous records are of no separate scientific value? 

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Continuous meteor count records

Hi Mike,

I'm not aware of any radio specific programmes within the BAA Meteor Section, but it would be worth checking with the BAA Radio Group.

Shower identification is primarily in the domain of radar rather than forward scatter radio methods, but the continuous monitoring of radio meteor counts can pick out and draw attention to unexpected bursts of activity. Many radio meteor observers submit their data to https://rmob.org/index.php