Thursday, August 30, 2007

Weekend Meteor Watch

From our friends at we learn that on Saturday morning, September 1st, a flurry of bright and colorful meteors might come streaming out of the constellation Auriga. The source of the shower is ancient Comet Kiess, which has laid down a trail of debris that Earth will cross this weekend. This is an irregular meteor shower which Earth encounters in varying periods of between 10 and 40 years.But will a shower really materialize? Forecasters are divided. Some expect a brief but beautiful display rivaling the Perseids. Others say the debris stream is too empty for significant fireworks. Either way, the peak is due around 11:30 UTC on Saturday morning. This timing strongly favors sky watchers in Hawaii and western parts of North America all the way from Mexico to California to Alaska. However, FM and TV DXers across the continent might be in for some meteor scatter DX as the signals heard are being reflected by meteors beyond the horizon.
(Source: Mark Coady Editor, Your Reports/Listening In Magazine/ODXA)
Photo: NASA
Further to Mark's post about this weekend's meteor shower. If youdon't have a home setup to listen to meteor echoes there are a coupleof sites run by NASA that provide real time online audio for thespecific purpose of hearing these echoes. They Plug these URL's directly into an audio player such as "Winamp" andthe audio will come up.As an alternative plug these following URL's into your web browser andthey should come up automatically in whatever audio player you haveset up on your computer. when there is no meteor shower you will periodically here a"ping" from a sporadic meteor entering the earth's atmosphere. Rightnow as I listen while I'm typing this I'm hearing a ping every coupleof minutes. When there is a shower the number of echoes you hear willincrease by quite a bit. Of course since this meteor detection methodis being done by radio and not visually it does not matter if it isdaytime. Please note that sometimes you can also hear echoes fromaircraft flying near the locations of the NASA receivers.You can make audio recordings of these pings, or you can use awaterfall spectrographic display program such as "Spectrum Lab" tomake a visual record of the meteors. Download program from here: it a try. It can be pretty interesting listening.JohnVE3CXB/ODXA