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2001 Leonids Campaign - Australia


Well, we saw it! We witnessed a very nice Leonid display in the night 18/19 Nov 2001 from two locations close to Broome, Western Australia. We did not go to the Wolfe Creek Crater, as originally planned - it had rainfall and thunderstorms. An illustration of this can be seen on this IR weather image from the evening of the 18 Nov 2001.

In the following, we give an overview over our campaign as it really happened and repeat our science goals.We left all the links as in the old page. Also check out our Leonids 2001 gallery for nice pictures. Our daily reports can be accessed via this page.

Campaign Overview

This time we went to Australia. While Mongolia and China were - in our opinion - slightly more attractive when it comes to the best observing conditions for the predicted Leonid peaks themselves, our decision was driven by the fact that we can combine our meteor campaign with a test campaign for a new prototype of a Mutual Impedance (MI) probe which is an interesting candidate for future planetary missions and is based on flight hardware developed for Cassini-Huygens and Rosetta. We have operated our intensified video cameras both in white light and with an objective grating. Due to political quarrels, our planned participation in the Leonid MAC airplane campaign did not materialize after all.

Our science goals (for the meteor campaign) were:


  • Participate in the determination of number rates vs. magnitude (using image-intesified video cameras).
  • Study the physical properties of individual meteors by measuring their light curves and velocity profiles and compare these to other streams (again, image-intesified video cameras).

Secondary goals:

  • Obtain spectra of meteors to determine the chemical composition of the meteoroids.
  • Perform E-field measurements to see whether bright meteors can induce Schuhmann-resonances in the atmosphere.

The team

The following people participated in our campaign:
Detlef Koschny (video cameras, overall coordination)
Joe Zender (still camera, PR)
André Knöfel, IMO (video cameras)
Roland Trautner (E-field measurements)
Grant Hobson (photographer)
Fiona Adolf (reporter)
Olivier Witasse (atmospheric physics, support at ESTEC)
In addition, the following people will be active during the Leonids:
Hakan Svedhem (impacts)
Jean-Pierre Lebreton (forward-scatter radio observations)
Gerhard Schwehm (comet science, PR)
Nicolas Biver (microwave observations of the Earth's atmosphere)

Our trip

Initially, we planned to go to Wolfe Creek Crater. Our old plan is kept here for historical reasons.

Olivier Witasse was in contact with us once per day via satellite phone. He put our daily reports on the web in real time. They can be accessed here.



Rental Cars

Here, I immediately link to the 4WD cars. Most companies offer only one type anyway. This is what we had:
  •, Toyota Land Cruiser Bush Camper, can not house three people, one bed on top, one below. Pick-up and drop-off in Broome possible, but special conditions apply (don't know yet which). Company located in Darwin.



  • The Earth as seen from the radiant for the predicted peak at 2001 Nov 18, 17h31m UT (predicted rate is 15000): 2001_map_b. This map was prepared my Rob McNaught, see his ASA page.
  • The Earth as seen from the radiant for the predicted peak at 2001 Nov 18, 18h19m UT (predicted rate is 15000): 2001_map_c. This map was prepared my Rob McNaught.
  • Overview map of Australia, south of Broome.
  • Overview map of Australia, west of Broome.
  • Detailed map of Wolf Creek crater as shown on the right (59k jpg)
  • Detailed map of complete North-West Australia (426k jpg!)

Other things


This page prepared by Detlef Koschny on 26 Feb 2001, last update 29 Nov 2001.

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