Video Spectroscopy for Meteor Classification

The Internation Meteor Organization is having their 2015 Conference in Mistelbach, Austria. from August 27 (Thursday evening) until August 30. At that meeting, Bill Ward from Glascow, UK will be presenting this following paper on Video Spectroscopy. He writes:

One of the new observing programmes I’m working on is called “Towards a New Meteor Taxonomy” (under review). For the first time, as video spectroscopy has become so efficient (you’ll see on the poster I got over a hundred last year alone!) that large samples are now a viable prospect.

Shower meteors, by definition, should have similar properties but are there larger “families” within the sporadic population? I think I’ve taken the first step towards realizing this. I’ve found three spectra with almost identical properties. One from 2006 and two from this year.

Take a look at this: Fireball Spectra Discussion between Bill Ward, Martin Dubs, and Koji Maeda. About half way down are the three graphs.

Martin Dubs Meteor Spectra
Meteor Spectra Decoded
Koji Maeda”s Spectrum with Approx Element IDs

If this doesn’t persuade people that we’re into a new era of meteor observing I don’t know what will!!!

cheers, Bill Ward Glasgow, UK 

See also Martin Dubs article Meteor Spectroscopy Aspekt2015 part2.pdf

POSTER CONTENTS: (partial contents shown)

For full PDF click here: Meteor Spectroscopy IMC2015 poster Bill Ward.pdf

Video Meteor Spectroscopy Kilwinning Spectroscopic Survey for Meteors International Meteor Conference. Mistelbach, Austria. 27th-30th August 2015.  

The KiSSMe project is an ongoing program to secure video meteor spectra on a routine basis year round. In the long term this may identify if there are any discernible compositional groupings amongst sporadic meteors/fireballs.

Currently three WATEC cameras are in use for spectroscopy (2 x 902H2 Ultimate and 1 x 910HX/RC). Each carries a 12mm f0.8 lens fitted with a 600 groove/mm transmission grating. The dispersion of this configuration is approximately 1.2nm/pixel. A further two WATEC cameras are used for general observing (1 x 902H2 Ultimate and 1 x 910HX/RC). Each is fitted with a 3.5 – 8mm f1 lens. Tests are currently underway with a QHY5II-M USB video camera to try and obtain HD images/spectra.


From April 2014 to April 2015, 105 video meteor spectra were captured in 714 hours of observing. Examples of spectra generated by bright meteors are shown here.

Taurid Fireball Spectra from Poster

Working with members of the Network for Meteor Triangulation and Orbit Determination (NEMETODE) (1), simultaneous spectroscopic and orbit determination observations have been undertaken. This has resulted in the first such combined observation made from the UK.

The spectrum shows strong emission from magnesium, sodium, oxygen and iron. The meteor was determined to have had an orbital aphelion within the asteroid belt.

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