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Computing Atmospheric Trajectory of Meteor

  1. Sep 9, 2009 #1
    I'm trying to understand the mathematical methods of computing the atmospheric trajectory of a meteor for two or more stations. Ceplecha wrote a rather complete description of this in around 1987. See <http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1987BAICz..38..222C>. Something of a simpler version meant for students can be found with Google using "ceplecha meteors" and look for "exercises in astronomy" about 8 to 10 entries down the page. He gives details from the reduction process, finding ra/dec on a photographic plate for a point, x-y, all the way to orbital calculations. He works out the material from 2 stations to N stations. I pretty well understand the reduction process. It's detailed in books such as Astronomy for Personal Computers, complete with computer code. Use of least squares is regularly used in these methods, and I'm quite familiar with them.

    What I am not comprehending fully is what happens immediately after the reduction process, is the trajectory computation. That's his section 5 of the 1987 paper. There he starts talking about the intersection of planes of the trajectory from two stations. At this point, I'm not sure what the planes are and how they intersect with the meteor (fireball). It's not even clear to me what trajectory he's computing. It doesn't seem to be a fit or an equation, but there may be a twist that I'm not getting.

    The paper is described in the link above, but I'm not sure if it's available for free there. I have the paper (pdf), and it shows the source as the NASA Astrophysics Data System.

    The explanation may be a bit hard to describe by text in this forum, but perhaps their are web sites and references that might help. I've really collected a lot of stuff of the web. If paper and pencil drawings are needed, I might be able to suggest temporary web posts for images files of such materials. In any case, we can begin by continuing with text message exchanges and see how it goes.

    Ah, I see I can attach a pdf. I'll do that. If you do start into the article, you can assume the fisheye lens is linear. Know to that I'm working wide a video camera. He used emulsion based photography.

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
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