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
This year may produce another enhanced return of the Leonid meteor shower, with ZHR hourly rates expected to exceed 150+ according to independent studies by Jérémie Vaubaillon, Mikhail Maslov, Esko Lyytinen, Danielle Moser, David Asher, Mikiya Sato and their respective collaborators (click the links for details). The main peak(s) are expected to occur in the night of November 17 to 18 around 22h00 UT (= 17h00 US Eastern, 23h00 Central Europe, 3h30 India, 6h00 Beijing), although variable activity may happen at almost any stage between November 16 and 18. Continuous monitoring is necessary. Leonids are generally only visible after local midnight from any longitude, with the exception of some long Earth-grazing Leonids before midnight when the radiant is still very low. Consult the shower calendar for more background.
Scientists depend strongly on visual observations by volunteers to test the theoretical models and improve future predictions. For more information on contributing your own observations, please consult the observing instructions and the instructions for filing a report. The IMO offers an electronic report form to submit your observations, and will automatically include them in the ZHR activity graph shown on the right.
As announced last month, the International Meteor Conference 2010 will take place from 16 to 19 September in Armagh, Northern Ireland. The registration has not been opened yet, but a website with details about the location, program and travel options is now available at http://www.imo.net/imc2010. If you wish to get in touch with other people planning to participate in the conference, you can join the IMC2010 event page on Facebook.
In other website news, the IMO webserver has been upgraded to better cope with the demand during major meteor showers. The website and ZHR graphs should load significantly faster now!
The new issue of the Journal of the International Meteor Organization is now in print. It will be posted shortly; all IMO Members and WGN subscribers should receive it soon. Subscribers can also immediately access the Journal in PDF format.
If you are not yet a member of the International Meteor Organization, you can become one by filling out the electronic registration form and pay the corresponding dues. In this way, you will also receive the other issues of 2009, both as paper copy and electronically!
After another very successful International Meteor Conference (IMC), in Porec, Croatia, the next IMC will take place in Armagh, Northern Ireland, from 2010 September 16th (Thursday evening) to 19th (Sunday lunchtime). It will be organized by the Armagh Observatory, a modern astronomical research institute having a rich heritage and a longstanding association with meteor science. Most participants will be accommodated in the Armagh City Youth Hostel; there is also bed & breakfast and hotel accommodation in Armagh.
The registration fee, probably similar to this year at 150 EUR (includes meals and accommodation), and other details will appear in time for registration to open early in 2010. The local organizing committee is Apostolos Christou (chairman), David Asher, Geert Barentsen and Miruna Popescu. More information will be communicated when it becomes available, through the IMO mailing list, the Journal WGN, and this website.
October's new Moon perfectly favours the Orionids at their peak in 2009. The shower's radiant, near the celestial equator, is at a useful elevation by around local midnight in either hemisphere, so most of the world can enjoy the shower. The shower peaks on October 21st, but has previously been noted to have several lesser peaks, sometimes helping activity to remain roughly constant for several consecutive nights centred on this peak. Observers should be aware of this possibility and attempt to observe for multiple nights.
Previous years have produced unexpectedly strong Orionid rates, with ZHRs better than the normal peak seen on two or three consecutive nights, at best up to 50-70. It will be interesting to see what takes place this year.
Visual observations can be reported through the Report Form and are as always highly appreciated. The observations are automatically included in an automated ZHR graph.
Although the major northern hemisphere Perseids are badly affected by the last quarter Moon near their best this year, there is the possibility they may produce somewhat increased rates. The usual maximum is due around August 12, 17h30m-20h00m UT, but Esko Lyytinen suggests we may encounter the 1610 Perseid trail earlier on August 12, around 9h00m UT (λo = 139°661). This could produce activity additional to the normal Perseid ZHRs then of a few tens, maybe up to a hundred. Mikhail Maslov confirmed this but for 8h00m UT and with only 10-15 meteors per hour. Both reseachers further suggest that rates overall could be enhanced above usual by the proximity of the annual stream's core.
The 19th century trail should pass roughly 0.003 astronomical units inside the Earth's orbit at λo = 139°499, so around 5h UT on August 12, though it may add less than 10 (according to Lyytinen) or up to nearly 100 (according to Maslov) to the ZHR at that point. Naturally, information to verify what takes place will be very valuable despite the Moon, so visual observers are encouraged to try to follow as much of what happens over the possible Perseid maxima as practical.Visual observations can be reported through the Report Form and are highly appreciated. The observations are automatically included in an automated ZHR graph.