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Leonid MAC

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flag Dr. Detlef Koschny,
ESA/SSD, ESTEC, The Netherlands

Last updated: October 2002
E-Mail: dkoschny [at]

Brief Biographical Information:

Detlef Koschny is a scientist with ESA/SDD at ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands, and head of the ESA/RSSD Meteor Research Group.


The Space Science Department (SSD) of the European Space Agency (ESA) started to get involved in meteor astronomy in the beginning of 1998. We concentrate on the ground-based observation of meteors, mainly with image-intensified video cameras, also calles low lightlevel TV cameras (LLTV systems), but we participated in the 1999 Leonid MAC mission when Michael Schmidthuber operated one intensified camera on our behalf.

SSD is mainly concerned with space-based experiments, one group of them being dust detectors. We are also involved in the Rosetta mission, being launched to comet P/Wirtanen in 2003. Therefore, our main science interests in meteor astronomy are to link the physical properties of the particles producing the meteors to their parent body (comet or asteroid), and to understand the distribution and evolution of dust in the solar system.

During the 2001 Leonids, a ground-based campaing is organized in Australia. Our science goals for the meteor campaign will be:

  • Primary:
    • Participate in the determination of number rates vs. magnitude (using image-intesified video cameras)
    • Study the physical properties of individual meteors by measuring their light curves and velocity profiles and compare these to other streams (again, image-intesified video cameras)
  • Secondary goals:
    • Obtain spectra of meteors
    • Use a regular CCD camera with long exposures for PR purposes and to search for the scattered light of the meteoroid particles.
    • Perform E-field measurements to see whether bright meteors can induce Schuhmann-resonances in the atmosphere

Homepage for the ESA/SSD meteor group.

Research on Leonid MAC:

We will operate an identical camera as flown on the Leonid MAC mission and analyse the relative flux as observed from aircraft and from the ground. A paper analysing similar data from the 1999 Leonid MAC mission was published in the special issue "Leonid Storm Research" in the jouranl Earth, Moon and Planets (Vol. 82-83).

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