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Analysis of Head Echoes

Visualising Meteor Showers

The outcome of radio meteor observations of a basic monitoring system based on forward scattering can be enhanced by additionally analysing meteor head echoes. Meteoroids of common origin (radiant) produce in a circumscribed area of reflection a bunch of head echoes with equally Doppler shifted frequency gradients. These groups can be made visible as hot spots in a kernel density map. So, spatial different sources of meteoric activity in the sky can be detected. E.g. Fig. 1 shows the kernel density map of the frequency slopes of all received head echoes during the outburst of the Draconids in 2018.

Fig. 1: Kernel density map of the frequency slopes of the headechoes (dots) registered in the days around the outburst of the Draconids in 2018. The Draconids (DRA) depict as well distinguishable hot spot on October 08th. Beyond the Draconids sporadic meteors are visible also. Especially the antihelion- (AH), apex- (AP) and helion-source (H) are discernable. The dotted lines mark 00h, 06h and 12h UTC each day.

Hot spot depicting the outburst of the Draconids 2018

Performing such measurements a radio meteor detecting system is required that is able to pick up meteor head echoes and their frequency change with a sufficient time and frequency resolution. For this purpose the software Meteor Logger was written. A detailed description of the procedure is published in the Journal of the International Meteor Organization: Kaufmann W. (2018): "Visualizing meteor streams by radio forward scattering on the basis of meteor head echoes". WGN, The Journal of the IMO, 46:1, 39-44. You can read the article here, its Figures 4-7 can be viewed in the supplement in high resolution.