Meteor Camera Observations

Reload this page to re-run the animations.

Examples of detections during the first two months of operation of the automatic meteor detection system

1. Fireball
These are two clips of the same fireball from two of the cameras. Such events are caused by objects typically the size of a walnut and are relatively rare.

2. Long meteor (NWCAM)
The meteor in this clip is diferent altogether; it is reasonably bright, probably magnitude -2 or -3. What sets it apart from other meteors is that it is unusually long, travelling more than half the vertical angular size of the image (30 degrees). It is probably an ordinary meteor entering the Earth's atmosphere at a very shallow angle.

or 7.1MB MPEG movie

3. Perseid meteor
Although the Perseid meteor shower this year peaks on the 12th of August at around 100 meteors per hour, increased Perseid activity can be observed from as early as late July. This clip shows one of those early Perseids entering the atmosphere around midnight on July 27/28.

or 5.7MB MPEG movie

4. Unknown
This is what we have come to call an "unknown", a very short flash in the sky usually lasting only one or two video frames; the most likely explanation for these is satellite glints, ie orbiting satellites momentarily catching sunlight at the right angle to reflect it back to the cameras. One could look at them as extremely short Iridium flares.

or 402K MPEG movie

5. Lightning (NWCAM,SECAM)
The cameras have also turned out to be useful as weather monitors; These two clips are of lightning bolts over Armagh during the evening of July 18th; overall over 70 lightning events were recorded.

or 638K MPEG movie and 538K MPEG movie

6. Bats
These are two video clips of what we call a "biologic" most likely a bat flying over the Observatory. This is likely to be the same animal as the time in the two clips coincides almost exactly.

or 3.8MB MPEG movie and 3.6MB MPEG movie

Last Revised: 2009 November 23rd