A standard observing method for visual meteor observers has been used since the late 1980s which is both comprehensive for serious analyses of meteor showers and simple enough to be employed by everybody at any place of the world. The IMO Handbook for Meteor Observers describes the method in detail. Every meteor astronomer is invited to make use of the method in order to obtain comparable results, and to send in her or his data to the global database maintained by the IMO.
The main objectives of the IMO's visual observing program are:
All observational data are stored in the Visual Meteor Database (VMDB). This central archive of amateur visual observations is open to:
For further information and questions about visual work within the IMO, the Visual Commission will gladly assist you.
Visual Commission Director: Rainer Arlt, Friedenstr. 5, D-14109 Berlin, Germany.
Video Observation is the youngest and one of the most advanced observing techniques in meteor science. Professional astronomers started to use video equipment at the beginning of the seventies, among amateurs the Japanese (1986) and Dutch (1987) observers have been the first using this technology. By now, video observations of amateurs have reached a semi-professional level as appreciated by the corresponding IAU Commission 22. In fact, regular observations of meteor shower with automatic video systems have started in Germany in 1999, and the number of participating observers is growing ever since. To actively support further developments, a Video Commission of IMO was founded after a one year preparation phase at the 1997 IMC in Petnica. As a basis for the work of the commission acts a paper that was published in WGN at that time.
Video Commission Director: Sirko Molau, Abenstalstr. 13b, 84072 Seysdorf, Germany.
Photographic work is organized to encourage amateurs to photograph as many meteor trails as possible, provided that exposure data are accurately reported and made available for astrometric calculations. The main objectives of the IMO's photographic program are:
More information can be obtained from the IMO Photographic Commission.
Photographic Commission Director: Currently vacant. For general information, technical questions or requests for reduction of double station observations you can contact: Marc de Lignie.
Radio work is a simple but useful means of checking the overall meteor activity; rain, clouds, daylight, city lights, ... all these problems to visual and photographic work are ruled out. No radar is needed. For instance commercial broadcasting stations beneath the horizon produce sufficient radio waves to be reflected by meteor trails, if geometric circumstances are favorable. Radio meteor work is rather unpopular and poorly known; the IMO intends to change this situation and has therefore created a radio observing program. The aims of this program are:
Radio Commission Director: Jean-Louis Rault, Société Astronomique de France, 16, Rue de la Vallée, 91360 Epinay sur Orge, France.
Telescopic work: the IMO wishes to encourage this observing technique among the owners of binoculars. Therefore a Telescopic Commission has been set up within IMO, led by experienced people. A number of articles in our meteor library are available and may serve to further develop this observing technique.
The director of the IMO's Telescopic Commission will be happy to answer further questions.
Telescopic Commission Director: Malcolm Currie, 25 Collett Way, Grove, Wantage, Oxon OX12 0NT, United Kingdom.