Meteor and aurora detection using modern video technologies

Martin Connors, Mikko Syrjäsuo, Peter Brown, Eric Doxovan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


It is now possible to inexpensively monitor the night sky using video technologies, and both amateurs and professionals can contribute to science by doing so. Two night-sky events that illustrate this were detected from Athabasca, Alberta, and coincidentally took place at local times on October 1 of the years 2002 and 2003. The 2002 event was a bright aurora detected by a "meteor" camera, which we describe in terms of current auroral theory. The 2003 event was an unusual fireball recorded both by the automated meteor camera and by a new auroral camera. We suspect that this was a rare Earth-grazing fireball, but the position in the sky and lack of other instrumental records do not allow us to determine this or the orbital parameters with great accuracy. The planned THEMIS research network of auroral cameras should secondarily contribute to bolide research, and gaps in its coverage could be filled by amateurs. Equipment used for automated detection of meteors is described in sufficient detail that others could build it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb. 2005


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