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Meteor update

Meteor receiver
The antenna for the meteor receiver CREDIT: Megan
Six months on from starting, and on Wednesday last week we finally got permission to install the antenna for the meteor experiment on the roof. In the background you can see the Lovell telescope. The building is the corner of the control room, and the antenna is the silver-looking T bolted to the brickwork near the roof.

It may not look like much, but it took a lot of effort to put together. The cables run down into the cellar (passing the signal through an amplifier and filter on the way) where I have an old PC set up ready to process the audio signal from a frequency scanner. So far, I'm only missing the audio cable to join up the two halves of the system!

The idea is to detect meteors using the forward scatter technique. This means we use a receiver to listen for echoes caused by radio signals bouncing off the ionised trails left by meteors when they fly through the upper atmosphere. We are listening to a TV signal transmitted from southern Spain, a transmitter we normally can't hear because it is over the horizon. When a meteor causes an ionised trail in the atmosphere, these radio signals bounce off them, like ordinary light from a mirror, and we can pick up the reflected signal.

There are lots of people doing this around the World, some of them you can find on the web. When the audio connection on this sytem is in place, we should have spectra from the system live on the web as well.

Posted by Megan on Saturday 28th Apr 2007 (21:58 UTC) | Add a comment | Permalink

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Last updated: Sunday, 22-Jun-2014 23:32:13 BST