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Detecting Meteors

When meteors enter the Earth's atmosphere, and begin to burn up, a trail of ionised particles is created in the 'E' layer of the atmosphere. This trail can persist for several seconds and will reflect Radio Waves. The frequencies that can be reflected by any particular ion trail are determined by the intensity of the ionisation which is related to the size of the meteor. Typically, the frequency range is generally between 20 MHz and 150 MHz occasionally reflecting signals at upto 500MHz if the intensity is strong enough. Generally lower frequency transmissions will be reflected longer and much stronger than higher frequencies.

It is very easy to listen for meteor reflections.A commercial VHF FM broadcast receiver tuned to a frequency at about 88MHz (but such that a local station cannot be heard) with a moderately sized (5 element) Yagi aerial pointed skywards.

Details of a meteor logging system will follow in due course.

There are a number of very good experimental papers on the Detection of Meteors in our Download Section or download the introductory paper now.

Dr David Morgan - Detection of Meteors by RADAR.



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