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Welcome to our meteor detection and radio astronomy pages. We are an informal group of astronomers and radio enthusiasts with a special interest in meteor detection and radio astronomy. Along with our other Astronomy projects we operate a dedicated 24/7  meteor detection system at the Norman Lockyer Observatory in Sidmouth, Devon plus several remote sites operated by members.

With this project our objective is to collect high quality meteor ionisation trail data, solar observation data and other radio astronomy data. To do this we use the Observatory site at Sidmouth as our main detection station along with feeds from Ventnor and several member sites for data validation and error discrimination. By consolidating information from multiple sites we hope to be able to provide reliable data.

On a more general level, our system at the Norman Lockyer Observatory can be enjoyed by members of the public during open days, many of whom find the sound of live audio pings and visual presentation of meteors fascinating. Unlike nighttime telescope astronomy, radio astronomy and meteor detection can also be enjoyed during the daytime and in any weather.

Meteor Detection Facility

Our Meteor detection facility receives VHF radar traces from the ionised trail created by a meteor as it burns up when entering the earths atmosphere. Our remote site location experiences very little local interference providing for a very sensitive system.

We gather numerical data relating to meteor activity as well as displaying a live trace along with audio on our terminal screens, making meteor spotting a very exciting and involving experience.

You can view our trace screen directly on this website by visiting our live feed. The screens show us general observation information relating to quantity, size and speed of meteors as they strike the earth’s atmosphere.

Radio Propagation Experiments

Solar activity plays a major role in radio communications. We carry out experiments on various wavelengths examining the relationship between Solar activity and Radio Communications. In addition we also experiment with radio wave meteor scatter and sometimes communicate with other radio stations over thousands of miles using these reflected radio waves.

We utilise two main sites for ionospheric propagation testing and observations. The Observatory at Sidmouth and another site near Ventnor Radar Station on the Isle of Wight.

The meteor radar detection system is also useful for predicting VHF tropospheric propagation. Look for a continuous trace. The continuous wave carrier is received directly during enhanced tropospheric and sporadic-E propagation conditions.

Radio Communications

Some of us are also licensed Amateur Radio Operators. Shortwave communication between ourselves and other observatories takes place on 3,685 Khz LSB. (+15 Khz / -15 KHz) usually during daytime. Non licensed members may also use the station to exchange messages when supervised by a full licence holder.

Joint Ventures

We are working on new projects with other Observatories in order to improve meteor detection capability and with some specialist Amateur Radio Stations to provide new source signals for radar detection and for inonospheric propagation experiments.

Meteor VHF Radar Detection facility at NLO