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1999 Leonids Campaign - Spain

Campaign Overview

We observed the Leonids from Southern Spain, both from the Sierra Nevada Observatory (OSN) as well as from the Calar Alto Observatory. We used image-intesified video cameras, a fish-eye camera, a CCD still camera with wide-angle lens, and the 1.5-m-telescope of OSN with a spectrograph.

Our main science goals were:

  • Participate in the determination of number rates vs. magnitude over a large magnitude range (this we did)
  • Study the physical properties of individual meteors by measuring their light curves and velocity profiles and compare these to other streams (we are still working on this, but have the data)
  • Perform spectroscopy of persistent trains (while we were ready to do this in the maximum night, the only long-lasting persistent train was seen the night after the maximum :-(

In addition, we performed flux measurements and transmitted them in near-realtime to European Spacecraft Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt. While the automatic system did not quite meet our expectations, we transmitted numbers from visual counts via GSM telephone.

The activity measurements were partially done Michael Schmidhuber from the AVWM, who flew for ESA on an american airplane dedicated to the study of meteors, see

Some results

We presented some of our results at the EGS conference in Nice, some at the Leonid MAC workshop in Tel Aviv, both in April 2000. We wrote two publications which have been submitted to Earth, Moon, and Planets. As soon as these are accepted, we'll put them on the web.

Magnitude distributions

Here are the visually estimated magnitude distributions from about 15 Minutes of video tape from our airplane-based video camera in the night of the maximum. We do not see any reduction in the number of small meteors in the linear plot. However, when plotting the meteor numbers in logarithmic scale this statement is not so clear any more... I guess I have to look at this in more detail after all.

The observing times are:
18 Nov 1999, 01h48m UT - 01h53m UT
18 Nov 1999, 02h13m UT - 02h18m UT
18 Nov 1999, 03h30m UT - 03h35m UT

This page prepared by Detlef Koschny on 15 Feb 1999, last update 03 Jul 2000.


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