The latest update on
developments concerning the Leonid MAC airborne campaigns.
Nov 09, 2002
MINI AIRBORNE CAMPAIGN FROM ISRAEL
Noah Brosch of Tel Aviv University,
organizer of the 2000 Leonid MAC Workshop, reports that an
Israeli airborne mini-campaign is being organized for the Leonids 2002. This
is a joint effort by
the magazine Masa Acher, the Arkia airline company, and the Walla! portal.
The scientific part is provided by researchers from Tel Aviv University with
support of the Israel Science Foundation.
Within the mini-campaign, one flight by a Boeing 757-300 aircraft will
take the scientific team and approximately 200 fare-paying passengers on a
meteor-observing flight over the Mediterranean. The flight path will be
from Tel Aviv toward Crete, overflying the same path a number of times
with the intention to be as much westward as possible for the 04:00 peak.
This storm peak can not be seen from Israel itself due to twilight.
The science team will operate two intensified-video systems from the
aircraft cockpit, and the video will be shown in real time over the
aircraft on-board video system. Other science experiments are under
2002 Leonid MAC near-real time flux team. Bend over map
of aircraft floor plan are (left to right) David Nugent,
Chris Crawford, Morris Jones,
Bob Lunsford and Jane Houston.
In background: David Holman and Peter Gural.
FLUX TEAM MEETING OCTOBER 05
The 2002 Leonid MAC visual observers that will
perform near-real time meteor counts for satellite operators met
at the residence of Jane Houston and Morris Jones in San Rafael, CA, on Oct 05. Present were
representatives of the
American Meteor Society,
North American Meteor Network,
Astronomical Association of Northern
California, all with much experience in meteor observations from video. Chris Crawford
presented a new tool for measuring the magnitude distribution index. All team
members were tested on their skills in meteor detection from video.
The highest score of meteors detected on a 1999 Leonid MAC storm video tape
(84 %) was a tie between Chris Crawford and Leonid MAC PI Peter Jenniskens.
Preparations for the 2002 Leonid MAC mission are moving along steadily.
Crew and instrument lists are finalized and pertinent information
has been made available to the NASA DC-8 and USAF FISTA aircraft
operators. Instruments are being shipped and mount brackets (DC8)
designed. Instrument installation is scheduled to start Nov 05.
Clearances are being worked and instruments are assembled and
tested. Contracts are being finalized. Flightsuits and patches have
been ordered. Lodging arrangements near Edwards AFB are made (confirmation
needed from individual participants).
UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA PHOTOMETER
Hans Nielsen of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks will contribute
a high-speed photometer to the Leonid MAC mission in the hope of
recording the rapid flicker of meteor lightcurves due to spinning
of the grains. Ondrejov Observatory will provide ground-based support.
ASUR equipment has arrived at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.
University of Bremen scientists will support the installation in
the week of November 4. The special ASUR window has been installed.
Ground-based submm experiments are coordinated by Didier Despois
of the University of Brodeaux, with main efforts at the 30m IRAM
and CSO telescopes. He is receiving support from various Leonid MAC
teams (Detlef Koschny, Peter Jenniskens) with intensified video
support to try and point the radio telescopes at meteor trains.
NEAR-REAL TIME FLUX FROM SPAIN
The Dutch Meteor Society (Casper ter Kuile) will operate the near-real
time flux measurement system in Spain as well as
video and photographic cameras. DMS lead Hans Betlem will support
ongoing efforts to establish a video uplink of the storm. A second
ground-site is being planned at Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona
(Jim Richardson, with help of David Holman).
BASIC MISSION FUNDING IN PLACE
Following support for the DC-8 deployment
by NASA's Astrobiology program, the FISTA deployment is now fully
supported by NASA's Planetary Astronomy program. Preparations for
a two-plane 2002 Leonid MAC mission to Spain are now underway.
FIRST INSTRUMENTS DELIVERED TO DC-8 OPERATORS.
On September 20, the first imagers and
spectrographs were delivered to the NASA DC-8 Airborne Laboratory
operators at Dryden Flight Research Center. Bob Curry, the NASA mission
manager, provided a tour around the aircraft and led the first
discussions to facilitate the instrument installation
and mission planning. See also pictures of DC-8 layout.
RESULTS 2001 LEONID CAMPAIGN