Shooting the Leonids
The campaign to observe the Leonid shower will take place between
15 and 19 November. In order to obtain stereo images of the Leonids,
the team will set up two observation sites separated by 50 km.
At each location, the team will continually monitor the incoming Leonids
with two image-intensified video cameras. A fifth, wide angle, video camera
will obtain an 80 degree 'fish eye' view of the night sky.
"The primary objective of our campaign is to count the meteor
trails and measure their brightness," said Koschny. "With
the 'normal' cameras, we can record many more meteors than are visible
to the naked eye."
"This will eventually enable us to calculate the changing
numbers of meteors over the five-day observing period,"
he said. "We can then use this information to improve existing
computer models of the many dust streams that are associated with
"We will also learn a lot about the size and type of material
that is being incinerated by studying its speed and light curve - how
each meteor trail brightens and dims as it burns up in the atmosphere,"
"The second video camera at each site will enable us to find out
what the particles are made of," he added. "These cameras
contain a grating that splits the light from the meteor trails into different
colours. By analysing these colours, we can discover their chemical composition."
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