Video Observations

Video Observation is the youngest and one of the most advanced observing techniques in meteor science. Professional astronomers started to use video equipment at the beginning of the seventies, among amateurs the Japanese (1986) and Dutch (1987) observers have been the first using this technology. By now, video observations of amateurs have reached a semi-professional level as appreciated by the corresponding IAU Commission 22. In fact, regular observations of meteor shower with automatic video systems have started in Germany in 1999, and the number of participating observers is growing ever since.

To actively support further developments, the IMO’s Video Commission was founded after a one year preparation phase at the 1997 IMC in Petnica. As a basis for the work of the commission acts a paper that was published in WGN at that time.

Video observation has some advantages over other observation methods, to some extend it even combines positive properties of other techniques. Using a video system you have the power of a visual or even telescopic observer, but a much higher accuracy. You are able to determine all important meteor parameters such as time, position, brightness, and velocity. Furthermore it is possible to obtain light curves, meteor spectra and other special features from shooting stars. The positional accuracy of video meteors is not as good as for photographies, but therefore video observer obtain severeal times more meteors than any photo camera due to the significantly better limiting magnitude. Video observation is probably the best method to record faint telescopic meteors. Currently the biggest disadvantage is the enormous price of a video system. Due to export limitations you may also run into trouble getting a suitable image intensifier for a video meteor camera.