How To Help With
The Leonid Storm Research.
HELP COUNT THE METEORS
Amateur astronomers interested in helping to monitor the Leonid shower could make an effort to collect counts of Leonid meteors in 1-minute
intervals. It takes the shower about 2 minutes to cross the United
States from the East Coast to the West Coast. With precise enough data, we can see the shower sweep accross the country and recognize
filamentary structure, if there is any.
Here is what to do: assemble a group of observers and assign one person
to keep notes on how many meteors were being observed. If you observe
by yourself, speak all meteors in on tape recorder and listen out later. In that case, make sure that you provide the time at several occasions. In all cases, Make sure that your watch is set correctly to the Universal Time (EST+5h, PST+8h).
It does not matter in what direction you are looking or how many people take part in the effort. It is very important, however, to keep the observing conditions the same. If clouds arrive, stop the observations. If one observer takes a break, all observers should halt their counts.
Try not to take a break between 9 and 11 UT on November 18. Best observations include as much of the whole period from 11 pm local time until morning dawn.
The form below provides for automatic submission by e-mail after completing
an hour observing. Provide the location of your observing site and the number of people
in your team as well as your e-mail address, plus any other information
on times of bright fireballs (exact time, brightness). Further information about
observing meteors is provided by the International
Notes on Usage of Data Collection Forms (from the Form Developer, Glenn Deardorf)
You can use these data collection forms to input your count data. At the end of every hour, you can use the "Email Hour ## Data" button to automatically tabulate and send the email to Peter Jenniskens. This works by launching your email program and composing the email message. When the message is ready, you can send it as you normally do by clicking on "send" in the email window. Note that the email is sent to two email addresses of Dr. Jenniskens, as well as your own email address, in order to create backups of the data.
Observer Data Form
Before the forms for observed meteor counts, there is a form for observer information. You'll need to fill in the location section (nearest town and/or latitude & longitude), the name of the observing group or "manager" (the designated head observer), and the email of the group or manager. Names of other observers in the group are also requested.
Data Entry for Meteor Counts
The data forms contain entry slots for every minute in the prime observing period (3:00 UT to 20:00 UT on Nov. 18th), for Leonid meteor counts, for sporadic (non-Leonid) meteor counts, and for % cloud cover. There is also a "comment" section allowing for recording of other things like fireballs. When noting fireballs, including the exact time and brightness (if possible) would be helpful. There doesn't have to be an entry for every entry slot (e.g. you don't have to fill out "0" in the % cloud cover slot for clear skies.) The email you send upon "Send Email" will just send the data that you've entered. Note that you can also fill in the data at a later time for those times you might have missed, and then select "Email" for the latest hour in which you've collected data, in order to send all of the data you've collected thus far.
Emailing Your Data
Every time you select "Email Hour ## Data" at the end of an hour, the data for that hour is composed into an email message body. In addition, all of the input data for all of the previous hours is also included in the message body. This is to ensure redundancy and to provide multiple backups in case some of the email sends aren't successful. This also means that you may choose to collect your data in some other fashion (e.g. pencil and paper) and fill out the form afterwards. In this case, you can just select "Email Hour ## Data" for the last hour for which you've collected data, and all of the data will be sent.
Note that when the email message contains lots of data (e.g. in the later hours), the time it takes to compose the message may be quite lengthy, perhaps half a minute or more. So what you see (at least in Netscape email) is the email window with the subject and recipients filled in, with a message body that will remain blank for as long as it takes for the composition to complete.
Because the form is long (over 1000 minutes worth of data), Mac users should ensure that enough memory is allotted to your Web browser. Netscape users should allot at least 24 Mbytes (34 or more is better), and Internet Explorer users should allot at least 30 Mbytes (40 or more is better).Early testing with using Eudora as the email client has yielded mixed results (e.g. sometimes garbled messages). Using Netscape as the email client works fine (including using Internet Explorer as the browser invoking Netscape to send the email). Currently, if you can configure your browser to use Netscape as your email client, if its not already, this will ensure the best results. Also, since it takes a few minutes to download the 680 Kbyte form, it would be best to do this well before data starts being collected.
Your results will be the most meaningful if you can ensure that your watch or clock is set as closely as possible to the nearest second (e.g. you can dial 767-1111 to obtain the current time in minutes and seconds).