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I thought some you might be interested in my actual work here at SETI Institute.

I thought some you might be interested in my actual work here at SETI Institute. I get to analyze data that catalogs meteors. The picture is a screenshot of the final step in the “coincidence” process (coincidence because you need at least two cameras in two different locations to coincidentally record the same meteor for it to count).

The top left is a graph of height vs. magnitude. The various colours represent each of the different cameras that caught the streak. Meteors should show a traditional light curve that brightens and then dims. Every so often, we find a meteor that has a double increase in brightness (the curve looks like the back of a two-humped camel). Sometimes, the curves are more like sharp peaks.

The bottom left graph is a side view of the meteor trail, with downrange on the x-axis and height on the y-axis. Meteors should have a negative slope.

The upper right shows how the meteor trail looks when projected on the ground below as if taken from above. The axes represent latitude vs. longitude (relative not actual). A straight line is a possible meteor.

The bottom right gives you the results of the calculations for radiant and entry speed. They’re not shown in the picture for this particular meteor, though, as the program also gives the time offset info for each camera (to show how to sync up the trails). When you gave a lot of cameras, that information is all you see without scrolling up.

I have catalogued over 5,000 meteors so far in 2013 between January and the first 3 days of February. Pretty exciting stuff to me. While continuing to analyze February, I also get to spend some time looking for interesting features in the January data. More on that when I find something!

And I still do not want this summer to end.

#astronomy #meteorshower #scienceeveryday  


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