Did you see a meteor fireball last night? Do you know how far away or near it was to you? Do you know how fast it was going? What direction it came from or if pieces of it might have hit the ground? NASA is trying to answer those questions by maintaining a constant watch on our skies.
Recently NASA started the All Sky Fireball Network, which is a series of cameras that look up for major meteor fireballs in the sky. They use a minimum of two cameras placed 50 to 90 miles apart to allow both cameras to record the fireball. That allows NASA to determine the direction and speed of the meteor.
The network is operated by NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO) in Huntsville, Alabama, and they are looking for additional locations for the bi-camera system. The sites must meet the following requirements:
Need an outdoor location that is/has:
- A mostly unobstructed view of the sky, horizon to horizon
- Relatively free of light pollution – no bright lights near the camera. For example:
- No sports field or stadium lights nearby
- No towers with blinking lights visible
- No parking lot lights that would shine into the camera
- Stable; we cannot mount a camera on a moving roof or other platform that would change the camera’s position from night to night.
- Distant from kilowatt radio transmitters or other sources of radio noise
Need an indoor location that is/has:
- Climate controlled (ideally)
- Fast, reliable Internet connection (minimum upload speed of 100 KB/s) with the ability to assign a static IP address
- The ability to open port 22 for internet communication in/out (only necessary if a firewall is in place)
- Located within 125 feet of the camera
- The means to run cables from the camera to the computer
- A window or some other means (e.g. short cable run to the outdoors) by which the GPS unit can get a lock. The cable on the GPS receiver is 22 feet long, so the window would need to be located within 22 feet of the computer. Similarly, a cable run to the outdoors shouldn’t be more than 22 feet long.
If your organization is interested in making a proposal, contact Danielle Moser at MEO at the Marshall Space Flight Center or contact me for her email.