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Leonid MAC

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flag Jiri Borovicka,
Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences
of the Czech Republic, Ondrejov


Last updated: October 2002
E-mail: borovic [at]

Brief Biographical Information:

Scientist at the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Ondrejov (Department of Interplanetary Matter). Born 1964 in Prague, 1987 graduated in astronomy from the Charles University in Prague, since 1988 at the Astronomical Institute in Ondrejov, 1993 PhD in astronomy (Thesis: Spectral analysis of a meteor, advisor Zdenek Ceplecha).


  • Meteor spectroscopy
  • Physics of meteor flight in the atmosphere
  • Chemical composition of meteoroids
  • Radiation of meteor trains
  • Reduction methods for determination of meteor trajectories
Research on Leonid MAC:

Video spectroscopy of meteors and trains.

Related studies of the Leonids in November of 1998 are reported here:

J. Borovicka, R. Stork, J. Bocek, 1999, "First results from video spectroscopy of 1998 Leonid meteors", Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in press)

The image below shows a video frame of my slit-less image intensified meteor spectrograph. The meteor is on the top right. Its light has been pulled appart in its range of colors from the violet until the infra-red by a grating. From similar spectra obtained during last year's Leonid campaign, the first evidence for differential ablation was found: sodium atoms being released at higher altitudes than magnesium atoms. This is not seen for other meteors and we conclude that the Leonid meteors break up in an unusual manner, exposing sodium atoms in the process. A paper on this issue was accepted for Meteoritics & Planetary Science (Nov. 1999 issue).

During the 1999 Leonid MAC mission, we discovered debris in the afterglow spectrum of a bright fireball. Analysis reveiled the temperature decay of the ablation plasma, the composition of the meteoroid, and unusually strong hydrogen emission. More information can be found here.

In the 2001 Leonid MAC mission, the spectroscopic properties of dust from different dust trails will be studied, with a range of ages since ejection.

slit-less spectrum
Video frame with a typical low-resolution Leonid meteor spectrum.

Leonid meteor spectrum
A one-dimenstional extraction of the meteor spectrum.

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