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Leonid MAC

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1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Ground: 1998 mission 1999 mission 2000 campaign 2001 mission 2002 mission

Qinghai Radio Observatory

The Qinghai Radio Observatory near Delingha, China.


DMS expedition logo The Chinese scientific effort to observe the Leonids is coordinated by Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing (Dr. Li Guangyu). Two ground-based campaigns for optical imaging and stereoscopic measurements are organised in collaboration with the Dutch Meteor Society, who will contribute equipment, expertise and manpower. The two sites are at the Qinghai Radio Observatory near Delingha in a desert in the middle of China, operated by Purple Mountain Observatory, and at the Xinglong optical station of the Beijing Astronomical Observatory in the wooded hills near Beijing. Local organisation of the Xinglong Station is with the Beijing Astronomical Observatory (Dr. Zhu Jin). This observing campaign provides ground-based support for the Leonid Multi Instrument Aircraft Campaign for flux measurements and astrometry.

In addition to this optical imaging effort, there are ambitious plans for using a range of other techniques at the time of the Leonid storm. Funding is presently sought for: the use of ionosonde, high frequency radar, laser radar and long wave guiding equipment to determine the occurrence probability of meteoroids, anomalous change in density of ionospheric electrons and sodium ions at 80-120 km altitude. The use of an infrasonic equipment system to monitor and research the characteristics of infrasonic wave and its propagation regularity. For this purpose, several multiple point infrasonic arrays located near Beijing can be used, as well as the high frequency Skywave radar in HeBei province, the laser radar of the physical and mathematical Institute of CAS in WuHan City and all the ionosonde of ionosphere stations.

Also, support is sought to use the optical GDI tracking theodolites (5 sets), AT wide angle telescopes (27 sets), NAFA 3C Cameras (2 sets), and Meteoric Cameras (2 sets). All of these instruments are distributed on 5 artificial satellite stations in Changchun, Beijing, Qingdao, Shanghai and Guangzhou, sustaining an arc of more than 20 degree from north to south. Spots near Xining and Urumqi in west China can provide optical support to monitor the Leonid shower activities.



Prof. Dr. Ulf von Zahn at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at Kuehlungsborn, an expert in lidar observations of meteors, plans to observe the 1998 Leonidsfrom Kuehlungsborn. In the previous year, von Zahn and colleagues intended to use groundbased lidars for Na, K, and Ca observations, an ionosonde, and a meteor-radar turned ST radar, but observations were hampered by bad weather.



The Leonid MAC airborne mission will be flown out of Okinawa, Japan.

The Japanese scientific effort to explore the Leonid storm from the ground is coordinated by the National Astronomical Observatory Japan (Dr. J.-I. Watanabe). Amateur and professional observers will focus their effort in Okinawa to cover the same parcel of sky as observed by the airborne mission. Of other locations, the Middle and Upper Atmosphere Radar near Kyoto will play a leading role. Japanese amateur observers will run a foreward meteor scatter network that is part of the Global-MS-Net.



Professional efforts at Starfire (New Mexico) will deploy ground-based Lidar (Mike Kelly, Cornell University) and radar techniques (Hawkings, Canada) to observe the Leonids in the USA. Other observations will be performed with the Arecibo Radiotelescope in Puerto Rico.

Arthur Giannetti at AFRL and Frans Rietmeyer of the University of New Mexico in Albequerque would like to launch a dust-collecting balloon at the time of the Leonid shower.

Various groups have proposed sounding-rocket experiments, but launch sites in the USA and logistics will likely postpone deployment until 2000 at the earliest.

A Leonid campaign in California will be organised by members of the California Meteor Society. Contact Mike Koop. Although the storm itself can not be observed from California, the shower may still have rates as good as a Perseid shower in the early morning of November 17. Of importance here is that the Californian observations will provide a measure of flux at the onset of the airborne mission. See further information on activities in Northern California from the Astronomical Association of Northern California.


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