Abstract – Meteor showers have captured the interest of sky watchers since antiquity. As observers began to systematically observe the night sky, it became apparent that meteor showers tended to occur on certain dates during the year, with meteors appearing at different rates and originating from different points of the sky. The recent Perseid meteor shower is a great example of a well known shower that sometimes surprises with an flare up of a high rate of meteors observed.
While the vast majority of meteorites burn up in the atmosphere, on occasion, a larger one will disintegrate and create what is known as a fireball. Sometimes, from the fireball, pieces of the meteor wll fall to earth and are then known as meteorites . Tracking a fireball, and recovering meteorites can add to our knowledge of the composition of the Solar System and how it formed.
Dr Peter Jenniskens will inform us of the nature of meteor showers, and how best to observe them. He will also tell us about meteor falls, and how they sometimes can be tracked so that known meteors can be recovered for further analysis.
Our Speaker – If you ever spend a night under the stars watching for meteors and saw something unusual, you may want to meet astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens. He’s an expert on meteor showers and author of Meteor Showers and their Parent Comets the definitive book on over 700 known meteor showers. Peter currently runs the NASA sponsored Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) project which uses a global network of security cameras used to track meteors with sufficient data to confirm their orbits. The project aims to verify some of the 300+ meteor showers in the IAU Working List that need confirmation.