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MeteorObs -
an Internet forum for meteor observers of all levels

The History of the 'meteorobs' Mailing List...

The email mailing list 'meteorobs' was originally designed as a way for members (and prospective members) of the North American Meteor Network to communicate with each other via email. Since then, it has grown to include participants representative of the entire amateur community, and has served as a "neutral forum" for airing a very wide variety of views. Here is it's story...

I began as a meteor observer many years ago, as an adolescent under the expert tutelage of Norman W. McLeod III in the dark skies of the Florida Keys and Everglades. After a long hiatus, I began to renew my interest in the "last bastion of unaided-eye astronomy" in 1996. I corresponded with officials of the American Meteor Society and the International Meteor Organization before discovering the highly informative, welcoming, and informal on-line organization known as the "North American Meteor Network" in the Spring of that year.

At the time, NAMN was managed as a single email alias on the computer of Mark Davis, the cofounder and Coordinator. During the course of my communications with Mark that Spring, the need for an open-forum, automatically managed mailing list for amateur meteor observers in NAMN became clear. To meet this need, and with Mark's permission, I set up an automated mailing list using the publically available listserver software 'MajorDomo'. This list was called 'meteorobs'.

Immediately, Mark and I sought participation in this list from all over the international meteor community, ignoring national, historical and methodological boundaries to try to create the first ever completely open forum for serious amateur meteor astronomy. Although - like any Internet medium - the list has sometimes failed to live up to this vision, it has also often succeeded.

In 1997, NAMN became an affiliated organization of AMS, and the IMO and AMS began what promises to be an invaluable dialog in the years to come. However, despite these promising organizational changes, the open nature and mission of 'meteorobs' remains the same as it was in 1996. And as the amateur meteor community worldwide continues to contribute to advances in the prediction of meteor shower outbursts and storms (like the Leonids of 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001) and other important areas of meteor science, we hope 'meteorobs' will continue to grow and serve as a gathering place for all responsible points of view in amateur meteorics.

Clear skies!
Lew Gramer <dedalus@alum.mit.edu>