The International Meteor Organization (IMO) was founded in 1988 and has more than 250 members now. IMO was created in response to an ever growing need for international cooperation of meteor amateur work. The collection of meteor observations by several methods from all around the world ensures the comprehensive study of meteor showers and their relation to comets and interplanetary dust.
You can read about the history, current aims and commissions of IMO. An additional page informs you about how to become a member the International Meteor Organization. Membership includes a subscription to WGN, the journal of the IMO.
Short term meteor activity outlook - Report your observations - Live ZHR graphs - Data archives - Observing handbook - Annual conference
Please submit your observations using the electronic form, which will get processed directly into a live ZHR profile.
One of the most famous and popular meteor showers of the year is coming. Unlike last year, with very unfavorable conditions due to full moon close to the maximum, this year has near-perfect conditions for observing the Perseids.
The peak of the activity is expected in the night from 12 to 13 of August (Sunday to Monday), with ZHRs (hourly rates in theoretical perfect conditions) around 100. Depending on your local conditions, this should cater for realistic rates of one meteor per one or two minutes. The nights just before and after the maximum are still worthwhile for observations with rather high rates.
Perseids are fast moving meteors and they appear to originate from a point between Perseus and Cassiopeia. The Perseids are of course a nice opportunity to just go out to a dark spot and see some "shooting stars", but if you would like to do some structured visual observations, we welcome your observations, which will get processed directly into a live ZHR profile.
From June 7th till 10th 2007 the International Meteor Organization held its annual International Meteor Conference (IMC) in Barège, France. 84 participants from all over the world joined us for this four-day event. Both professional and amateur astronomers presented their latest results in meteor science. The IMC is also a time where meteor enthusiasts tighten and renew their friendship.
Before conference, a dozen participants attended the Radio Meteor School where we had lectures on the physical and mathematical theory of radio meteor observations. There was also a half-day orbit determination workshop organized by Jonathan McAuliffe (ESA/ESTEC) right before the start of the IMC).
If you've got your pictures on-line somewhere, please send us the location and we'll add a link to your gallery.
The IMC 2007 was organized by IMCCE, Institut de Mécanique Céleste et de Calcul des Ephémérides, Paris Observatory, Observatoire Midi-Pyrennees and AUDE (Association des Utilisateurs de Détetecteurs Electronique). Your comments are very welcome! Lecturers are requested to submit their contribution to the Proceedings before the 15th of may.
See you next year!
The Lyrids (LYR) are the first major annual shower of the season. Their maximum occured near 22-23 April 2007, as reported by visual observers through the IMO electronic report form. Once again, an "on the fly" ZHR graph has been made available with early results.
If you haven't submitted your reports yet, this might be the right time!
The Geminids (GEM) peak on the night of December 13/14. Rates will rise steadily this week as we approach the maximum and the moon wanes. The current radiant is located in northern Gemini, five degrees west of the second magnitude star Castor (Alpha Geminorum). These meteors are best seen near 0200 local standard time when the radiant lies highest above the horizon. This shower is best suited for the Northern Hemisphere but some activity can be seen south of the equator when the radiant culminates low in the northern sky. At 35 km/sec. the Geminids produce meteors of average velocity.
The highest peak is expected in the morning of Thursday the 14th. Expect rates up to 120 meteors per hour in real dark areas, down to a maybe a dozen in more urban regions.
An "on the fly" ZHR graph is available, containing the data reported through the IMO electronic report form (+- 2 minutes delay). Note that by using the electronic form, you allow for more effective data processing and quality control.
We hope this feature motivates your observing efforts! Suggestions and changes are very welcome (source code is open). Note that these are automated results without population index or perception corrections applied, so keep an eye on WGN for scientific results.
We encourage all observers to use the electronic visual observation form. This will increase the efficiency of data processing significantly. The information gathered through this form is used to compute a live ZHR graph.
First-time observers are adviced to read through the visual observing sections of this website before observing.
Bob Lunsford explains in this week's Meteor Activity Outlook:
The Leonids (LEO) will be best seen from November 17 through the 19th. The Earth passes closest to the node of comet Temple-Tuttle late on the 17th (Universal Time). The best chance for enhanced activity will most likely be near 0445 UT on the 19th. This timing favors Western Europe and northwestern Africa. From the western hemisphere, northeastern South America and eastern North America may see enhanced activity as the radiant rises in the east on Saturday evening/Sunday morning November 18/19. No one knows exactly the strength of this peak.
Optimistic forecasters are predicting rates of 2-3 Leonids per minute for a short time centered on the peak. Unfortunately these Leonids will most likely be faint so those viewing from urban sites will not be able to see much at all. Other locations than those mentioned above should watch for activity late in the morning while the radiant is high on the dates mentioned above. The radiant is located at 10:12 (153) +22. This position lies in northwestern Leo, just one degree southwest of the third magnitude star Aldhafera (Zeta Leonis). The radiant rises near 2300 (11:00pm) LST and is best placed in a dark sky just before the onset of morning twilight. At 71km/sec., the average Leonid is swift.
The Orionids surprised with heightened activity in 2006. A considerable set of 146 observing priods was collected by 2006 October 25, 14h UT which leads to the below ZHR profile. The maximum was not sharp; high rates were observed throughout the European and most of the American night of Oct 21/22 with ZHR > 50. Large fractions of bright Orionids were reported by the observers. A population index of r=2.0 was assumed for that reason. Such a value is typical for strong showers like the Perseids or the Geminids. Sporadic meteors, for comparson, have a population index of roughly 3 implying a larger fraction of faint meteors. The Orionids used to have intermediate population indices in previous years.