Video Features

Watch the Geminids Meteor Shower
12.11.09
 


Note: During daylight hours -- CST -- the camera is turned off, so you'll simply see a gray box. However, you can still hear the meteors even when the camera is off. To see the meteors, check back after 4:30 CST.


What You are Seeing:

This is the live feed from the NASA all-sky meteor camera located at the Marshall Space Flight Center. If the sky is clear, you should be able to see a Geminid meteor every couple of minutes on or after 11 PM on Sunday night (December 13). Geminids should also be visible if the sky is clear at the same times on Monday night. Not only are you watching, but so is a computer running special software to detect meteors. Once the software identifies a meteor, it analyzes its path across the sky and saves that video segment to disk. This camera has a twin, located about 100 miles away near Chickamauga, Georgia; each morning the two systems talk to each other and use triangulation to determine the height and speed of any meteor seen by both systems, and from this data, figure out the orbit of the meteor about the Sun.

What You are Hearing:

This "static" you hear is from a ham radio tuned to the video carrier frequency of a low power TV station (55.25 MHz). When a meteor burns up in the atmosphere, it also produces a trail of ionized particles that reflect radio waves. If the meteor is located in the right spot in Huntsville's sky, the signal from the station transmitter is reflected to the radio receiver, and you will hear a "ping" above the static noise. You should be able to hear the meteors even if the sky is cloudy (radio penetrates clouds, whereas light can't).
 
 

Media Contact:
Janet Anderson, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
Janet.L.Anderson@nasa.gov