Various software packages are available related to meteors and meteor data processing.
The Radiant software calculates density distributions of meteor radiants. The disk-read procedures interpret meteor co-ordinate data in the PosDat and FIDAC formats. The user should have some basic knowledge of creating dBase files. The density distributions are gnomonically projected, thus simplifying the calculating procedures. For most radiant searches the investigated area is small enough (<20° across) that the scale change over this gnomonic chart can be neglected.
Radiant knows three methods of radiant determinations: backward tracings, intersection counts and probability distributions.
Radiant is a product which developed by its users. I would like to specially thank Malcolm J. Currie for his numerous suggestions, Andre Knofel for testing the current version and setting up the FIDAC file structure, Ralf Koschack for mathematical ideas and the analysis of plotting and velocity errors, Luis R. Bellot for modifying the angular speed formula, Detlef Koschny for setting up the PosDat file structure and many more.
For Windows Vista and Windows 7 users only: Radiant is a 16-bit DOS program and as such you will not be able to run it even from the command prompt, you would get an error message: “This system does not support fullscreen mode. Choose ‘Close’ to terminate the application.” Changing compatibility settings in the properties window of the RAD14.exe file won’t help you either. There is still a simple and comfortable solution for this problem by installing the DOSBox program, which emulates DOS and thus lets you run 16-bit DOS programs. DOSBox is a freeware and can be downloaded from its official website; its installation process is quite simple and doesn’t require any further explanation here. Note: You will NOT need DOSBox for running the Project Editor, you can run it directly from the Windows Explorer.
MetRec (Meteor Recognizer) is a software package for the automatic detection and analysis of video meteors. It can be used both to inspect video tapes/DVD offline, and to do online recognition for an automated video system.
MetRec analyses in real-time half resolution grey scale PAL (384×288 pixel, 8 bit) or NTSC (320×240 pixel, 8 bit) video frames at rates up to 25/30 frames per second. It stores the appearance time of meteors and optionally a number of frames and a sum image from each event. MetRec is able to compute the meteor brightness, its velocity and equatorial coordinates. The software calculates the limiting magnitude and the size of the field of view covered by the camera. It is able to determine the meteor shower on the fly, and the flux density for each meteor shower.
The software is highly flexible – it can be adapted to each individual system with a number of parameters to be set in a configuration file. All output is written into a logfile. During recognition, the current input signal, preliminary results of the recognition process (e.g. mean subtracted image, regions of interest, segmented and identified stars, …) and the system state are displayed at the monitor.
MetRec runs only on 32 bit OS or lower (DOS, Win98, Win XP, Win 7). Check the MetRec homepage for more information and downloads. MetRec can be downloaded from this site. You have to choice to download the individual program files for DOS, Win XP, and Win7 or ZIP archives MetRec53Dos.zip (16.1 MB) / MetRec53WinXP.zip (8.2 MB) / MetRec53Win7.zip (192 MB) which include the full software package in compressed format. The history file informs you about the latest software changes.
QRicht provides you with all required information to aim your cameras for double-station observations based on the observation time, the geographic coordinates of 2, 3 or 4 stations, the height in the atmosphere of the aiming point and the geographic coordinates of the aiming point in the atmosphere.
QRicht runs on 16 bit machines. If you are interested in a 32 bit version, please contact Marc de Lignie.
UFOCapture is a motion capture software that starts recording on a hard disk drive of a computer from a few seconds before the action recognized to a few seconds after the action finished. UFOCapture is software for Microsoft Windows and it is easy to build a satisfying observation system by using various video capture equipments on the market.
After UFOCapture was first published in 2003, UFOCapture V2 is now available refined by users’ requests and advices on summer of 2005. Fantastic luminous phenomena have been captured using UFOCapture such as meteors, Fireballs, Sprites, Elves, and Blue Jets, and much more unknown phenomena are waiting to be discovered.
UFOAnalyzer, which calculates precise direction and elevation of the event and UFOOrbit that gets an orbit by a fireball observed by more than two sites, are also available and very useful to precede the captured events.
VISDAT is a system for recording and evaluating visual meteor observations. The first version was developed in 1991 by Thomas Rattei and later by Janko F. Richter (both Astroclub Radebeul e.V. Germany).
The Astro Record program is aimed at making position measurements of celestial objects, especially meteors, and performing the associate astrometric calculations. For this purpose screen coordinates of the object and of a number of reference stars can be measured, equatorial coordinates of the reference stars can be looked up, and the results of the astrometric calculations can be analyzed regarding wrong star identifications and plate defects.
The results are stored as an output file that can be used for either the Turner or Redsky astrometric computer programs in use within the Dutch Meteor Society. In addition, the equatorial coordinates (equinox J2000.0) of the meteor’s begin and end point are stored in a log file that can easily be converted to the PosDat format used by the International Meteor Organization.
The program can handle images in the Windows Device Independent Bitmap Format (*.BMP), Kodak Photo CD format (*.PCD) or Video for Windows format (*.AVI). For obtaining the equatorial coordinates the program uses the Sky Catalogue 2000.0, Vol. 1, second edition,1991 (c), sold by The Sky Publishing Corporation. The entering of equatorial coordinates is eased by the possibility of specifying a constellation name and Flamsteed number. From the fourth star on the program predicts the most probable star from a list of possible stars, based upon the previous measurements.
For the astrometric calculations the equatorial coordinates are converted into so-called direction cosines and expressed as a polynomial function of the screen coordinates x and y (Turner’s method). The user can choose between a first, second or third order fit. A third order fit can compensate for the most common image distortions due to camera and projection lenses, Photo CD production, optical scanning, image intensifiers, etc.
AstroRecord runs on 16 bit machines. If you are interested in a 32 bit version, please contact Marc de Lignie.
The MetShow meteor planetarium software is runningon Windows operating systems. The program can help meteor observers to prepare and evaluate their observations. MetShow is based on the 2017 IMO Working List of Meteor Showers (J. Rendtel, 2016), with addition of some meteor showers from the 2006 IMO Meteor Shower Calendar. The software produces the following information for the active showers on a given date:
- star charts with radiants
- moon phase
- moonrise and moonset
- sunrise and sunset
- solar longitude (J2000)
- other astronomical circumstances
- ZHR calculation
- Lunar impact conditions
Suggestions for improvements or new features can be sent to Peter Zimnikoval.
Radio Meteor Software
This program permits the calculation of the performance of Yagi antennas. It runs under MS-DOS.
This is a program of radio amateurs for the prediction of meteor scatter. We don’t know its reliability, and there is no documentation in the package. It runs under MS-DOS
Meteor v4.0 & Colorgramme
Software for meteor detection and visualisation of observations. Can be found at http://radio.meteor.free.fr/.
EZNEC Antenna Software
EZNEC and EZNEC+ are powerful but very easy-to-use programs for modeling and analyzing nearly any kind of antenna in its actual operating environment. EZNEC plots azimuth and elevation patterns; tells you gain, feedpoint impedance, SWR, and current distribution; finds and reports beamwidth, 3-dB pattern points, f/b ratio, takeoff angle, sidelobe characteristics; and more. All information, including patterns, can be displayed on screen or printed on any Windows compatible printer. Can be found at http://www.eznec.com/.
- CooReader (author Marek Samujllo)
measuring visual meteor plots
- MetSim (author Sirko Molau) is a meteor storm simulation. The goal of this simple program is to test how good you are in estimating the meteor count under exceptional rates, and to train yourself for such an event. Beside that, it is simply fun to watch the display of an artificial meteor storm. MetSim runs under 16 bit OS (Dos, Win98) only. However, the readme file contains instructions how MetSim runs easily with the DOS emulator DosBox on any Windows version.
- Between 2001 and 2004, Marco Langbroek wrote (sometimes with the help of Marc de Lignie and Casper ter Kuile) a number of MS Excel applications for various types of calculations relating to meteor astronomy. Most of it relates to meteor orbits. Among them is a spreadsheet which allows you to calculate orbital elements from a (geocentric) meteor radiant position and speed.