Go out to a field on a dark night, far away from city lights, and you might just see a shooting star. A single meteor is just a tiny fraction of all the space dust that hits our atmosphere every day; most of it goes completely unnoticed. To get a better idea of where these meteoroids come from, [Dario] and [Denis] have come up with a network of meteor-detecting ground stations to search for these extraterrestrial visitors and make it possible to retrieve the largest of these fallen stars.
This project started at the Croatian Meteor Network, a team with about two dozen surveillance cameras pointed skyward as an unblinking eye, looking for meteoroids entering the Earth’s atmosphere over the Balkans and the Adriatic sea. When two cameras detect a meteor, the path it came from – and its orbit around the Sun – can be computed. The team has already found a possible new meteor shower (PDF) that is active from late August to the middle of September.
With hundreds of cameras scattered around the globe, it’s possible to triangulate the position of these meteors and their orbit around the Sun, just like what was done with the innumerable Russian dash cams after the Chelyabinsk meteor. It’s a great project, and also one that requires a lot of computer image processing – a favorite around these parts.