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Going Deeper: Telescopic Meteors
an Internet forum for meteor observers of all levels
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about 'meteorobs'...
Meteor astronomy or "meteorics" is the area of astronomy
dealing with the study of meteors, or shooting stars. A
meteor results when a particle in space (actually called
a "meteoroid") enters the earth's atmosphere with a high
initial velocity and ionizes the gasses there, producing
visible light and a fiery "train".
By recording and studying the characteristics of these
fiery meteoroid deaths, astronomers can learn more about
the composition and origins of the solar system, dynamics
in our own atmosphere, the orbits and history of comets
and asteroids, and even some things about our own human
(Some people "just want to enjoy the show" if a very rich
meteor shower peak is occurring! If this best describes
your interest in meteors, then consider subscribing
to the very low-volume, "announcements-only" mailing list
Meteor observing represents a unique opportunity for the
amateur astronomer for two reasons:
1. There are very few professional scientists in
the world studying meteors, so any quality data
which an amateur can gather is very valuable, and
2. The most common technique for observing meteors
involves nothing more complex than your unaided eye,
and a clipboard or tape recorder. No telescopes,
strip charts, or other doohickeys required!
For this reason, amateur meteorics has been called "the last
bastion of unaided-eye astronomy". To learn more about meteors,
meteoroids, and meteor observing, visit some of the Web sites
in our Link section, or subscribe to the mailing list and ask
some of the most experienced meteor observers in the world!
If you've seen a "fireball" (very bright shooting star),
you should report it immediately! Do not bother posting
it over our 'meteorobs' list, but rather go directly to
the International Meteor Organization's Fireball Form:
Or if you feel your sighting is of a more unusual nature,
try the Dutch Meteor Society's Fireball Report Form:
If you'd rather use a form you can print out and mail via
postal mail, see the North American Meteor Network Fireball
Report Form, available for print-out on the Web at:
There are probably many people who also saw your event:
even though most fireballs appear to strike the ground
"right over the next hill", they are actually generally
seen at a very great distance from you (30-200 km). So
expect many, many more people to see what you saw! You
may contact NAMN to find out about these other reports.
If you believe you might have seen a bright meteor actually
LAND near you, PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK before you try to
publicly report the "landing" you believe you saw!
Subscribing and unsubscribing:
In the body of the email put: "unsubscribe meteorobs"
Switching to the DIGEST version:
In the body of the email put:
Posting your own message to the list:
(To ask questions, make an announcement, discussing observing, whatever!)
Please provide a descriptive subject line, and avoid binary attachments!
Searching the mailing list archive for a general keyword:
In the body of the email: "retrieve meteorobs <your-keyword>"
Help or questions on any of the above commands:
Subscribing and unsubscribing via the Web:
Searching the Archive for general keywords:
"Yahoo!" also maintains a searchable and browsable archive of 'meteorobs',
which covers all posts since Januray 1997. You can even sign up to receive
'meteorobs' (indirectly) through this site!
Here's another wonderful tool for browsing and searching 'meteorobs', and many
other astronomical mail archives, which also covers our posts back to 1997:
Posting your own observing logs via the Web:
Please see the following Web page for more information on this topic:
Or review Dr. Peter Jenniskens' informational site, hosted by NASA at: