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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Midnight Fireball!

A large fireball lit up the skies over Central Texas Last night around Midnight. (5:00 Universal Time)

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Rainy Weather Meteor Radio Pings

Here in Central Texas it's been raining for the last few days and while I love the rain and we needed it badly. It really puts a damper on meteor observing! However it doesn't keep me from hearing meteors! In fact you can monitor meteors in this fashion even during the daytime!
I have my forward scatter setup which monitors a radio beam used by the U.S Govt to monitor space debris. This beam shoots up from Lake Kickapoo in north Texas near Archer City. If you live far enough away from it you cant pick the signal up directly but you can hear it as anything moves through the beam and reflects the signal back down to your antenna. In the Case of meteors this sounds like a "ping" or a "whoop" or even a long eerie whine or whistle in the case of larger meteors.

Here are a few small "pings" I picked up while it was cloudy.

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Daytime Forward Scatter Detection

On Aug 31 at 19:16:32 GMT I had a large hit on my forward scatter receiver here in Hawley, Tx.

I've put together a video of the allsky camera video and the forward scatter audio synced to the same time frame. Daytime detections are hard to capture due to the glare of the sun and clouds in the image. I havent been able to see anything in the video yet but everyone is welcome to
 try! I'm hoping someone can see something in this video that I'm missing.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2012 Perseids

This year's Perseid meteor shower put on quite a show here in North Central Texas!

Composite Image: Allsky Camera Perseid Meteor shower Peak Night 8-12-2012

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Video Compilation of all Meteor Detections : Perseid Meteor Shower Peak Night 8-12-2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Large Fireball Over West Oklahoma and North Texas

This evening in the midst of Developing thunderstorms One of the flashes across the sky wasn't lightning! I large Bolide or Fireball came roaring to earth. Reports are coming in from Oklahoma Of sonic booms caused as the fireball streaked towards Earth.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lyrid Meteorshower forwardscatter radar timelapse

I've taken the last three days of forwardscatter spectrographs and combined them into a timelapse video of the lyrid meteor shower. What you're seeing is a spectrograph display of the audio output from my forward scatter meteor radar. As meteors travel through the radar's beam they reflect a portion of the signal back causing a "ping" sound on the receiver. This audio if fed into software that generates a spectrogram image. These images are saved to disk 24/7. This is the result. It's about 17 mins long. 
As you watch you'll see lines that scroll up and down through the frame. These are aircraft passing through the radar beam. Meteors appear as small blips of color. Larger meteors appear as a bigger smear in the image. Large aircraft reflections also tend to have a larger fuzzy band above and below the main echo. Satellites passing through the beam appear as sharply diving diagonal lines.
Enjoy the show!
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Lyrid Meteor shower DirectView camera timelapse

This years Lyrid Meteor Shower put on a pretty good show from my location. At least my Direct View camera
caught a good number of them. 
I've taken all the composite images and combined them into a timelapse video and composite image.  I hope you enjoy them!
 
What is the lyrid meteor shower??
 
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Lyrids are a meteor shower lasting from April 16 to April 26[1] each year. The radiant of the meteor shower is located in the constellation Lyra, peaking at April 22—hence they are also called the Alpha Lyrids or April Lyrids. The source of the meteor shower is particles of dust shed in the cometary tail generated by the periodic Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher. The Lyrids have been observed for the past 2600 years
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nice exploding fireball over north Texas

Last night at 10:56 Universal time a fireball exploded in the skies over north texas.
the event was captured on my allsky camera.
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The same event was also captured just on the edge of the frame on my direct view sprite monitoring cameras
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Satellite Flashes

Occasionally... Well actually, Quite often my camera captures satellite Flashes. These are glints of sunlight that reflect off portions of satellites as they orbit the Earth.
Here's a little composite video of several such events.
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Start of the Lyrids

The upcoming Lyrid Meteor shower peaks on Saturday. 
This is one of a few as it starts to "ramp up"




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Below is this same meteor event as caught by my Friend's Sanida Camera in Oklahoma City!

A nice Taxday meteor

April 15th had a nice fireball streak across the skies over central texas
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Long Fireball last night at 1:17 AM CST

After quite a quiet spell we finally had something flash across the skies here in central texas last night!
I fast moving fireball running almost west to east!
Sandia allsky Camera Composite image

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Sandia Allsky Video
Color Allsky Camera Composite
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Monday, February 6, 2012

A tour of my setup

The events of the last week have generated tons of interest in meteors and the equipment used to record and plot their tracks across the sky. I've received many questions about how and why I set up my allsky camera and the accompanying equipment to monitor meteors. In this post I hope to give you a tour of my setup and answer some of the questions I've been asked about how ans why I do what I do.

First, Why do I put time and effort into this....

  Put simply, I really love the thrill of discovery! I enjoy being able to provide information to researchers and scientists around the world. I'm not a scientist myself but I am a science enthusiast. My allsky cameras are my attempt to be part of something bigger in the world of science.

I guess I'm an armchair scientist.

  I compare my meteor cameras to fishing. I set them up, sit back and relax and wait for a bite! Each morning I check the cameras to see if I caught anything good the previous night. I also have a network of friends who do this very same thing! We email each other if we get a big "hit" on one of our cameras and we all rush to see if we caught something too! We all share a love of discovering something most people only occasionally think about. Meteors!

Now to the equipment and what it does....

First the Camera.

The Main Science camera is a Sandia Allsky Camera. The Sandia allsky network is a group of allsky cameras from Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico. Since I'm almost in the middle of Texas and live in a nice dark area they asked if I'd be willing to host a camera for them. This is how I got my start into the world of meteor monitoring!

The allsky camera itself is a black and white low light CCD video camera. the camera has a fisheye lens installed that allows a 180 degree view of the sky. Horizon to horizon.

I built a platform for the Sandia Camera. I then added a secondary color camera of my own.
using the sandia camera as a model I built a housing for my color camera. All the parts are constructed of PVC plumbing. The dome on my color camera is just a Dummy Security camera dome purchased from Harbor Freight and waterproofed with silicon sealant.


Since I'm in the middle of some trees where I live I decided early on to place the cameras on a 30 pole to get them up high enough to see the horizon.
I used an old dish network dish mount to bolt the camera platform to. I cut off the bend in the dish mount's pole so it could be placed over a tower segment leg.


I used an old dish network dish mount to bolt the camera platform to. I cut off the bend in the dish mount's pole so it could be placed over a tower segment leg.

I ran power and video down from the platform to a weatherproof housing to make the connections accessible from ground level.


The entire thing was raised and secured with guywires to keep the platform stable in the wind.


The video lines run into a "computer shack" that houses the meteor detection and forward scatter radar audio monitoring software. The software watches the video from each camera and if it senses any motion or change in brightness it records the event to a hard drive.


This is the rack of equipment that monitors all the video and audio feeds. It's not pretty but it gets the job done!

I have several processes set up to automatically feed images and updates to the web for this blog. One feeds what the allsky camera sees and overlays a starchart. That image is then displayed with a flash displayer I created for the blog. It's the top left blue backgrounded image on this page.


The second process feeds a spectrogram image from the forward scatter radar audio with shows if any
meteor has been picked up by radar reflection.
The forward scatter radar uses a radio to detect radio reflections off a meteor and it's trail of ionized gas as it passes through the atmosphere.
Here's a link to a detailed description of the process.

This image is also uploaded and displayed with a flash displayer right under the allsky image in the upper left of this blog.

I hope this provides a reasonable explanation to all those who were curious.
Kevin Palivec
Centex Allsky

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thanks to all the media that contected me about the Texas Bolide

I'd like to take a moment to thank all the media outlets that contacted me and asked permission to use my meteor videos and images of the Wednesday's Large Event! And to the one media outlet that didn't ask and ended up showing the wrong meteor over and over? You should have just asked! I'd have pointed you to the correct video and images! =)

Kevin Palivec
Centex Allsky
Hawley, Tx

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Large Fireball/Bolide over Texas

Last night a bright long lasting fireball streaked across Texas and Oklahoma skies.
according to reports it rattled windows in Dallas/ Ft.Worth

Images and Video from our Hawley, Tx Allsky Camera

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Coleman allsky Camera images and video

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nice Meteor over North Texas/Oklahoma 2-1-2012

The first day of February brought a nice meteor/fireball to the skies over North Texas.
This one also had good forward scatter audio.

Color Allsky with ForwardScatter audio

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Sandia Allsky Camera


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Monday, January 16, 2012

Large Bolide Jan 16, 2012 1:14 CST

Last night we had a large bright green  fireball (Bolide) occur over north Central Texas.
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Friday, January 13, 2012

North Texas Fireball 1-13-2012 10:13 UT 4:13 CST

Last night at 04:13  CST centexallsky's Direct view color camera caught a fast bright fireball with a terminal flash over north Texas.

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The Same Event was also captured with my Sandia Allsky Camera.
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Forward Scatter Radar Signature Spectrograph