Meteor and Fireball detection at UCM


Fireball patrol from UCM observatory

The Fireball and Meteor group of Universidad Complutense de Madrid (FM-UCM) belongs to the SPanish Meteor and Fireball Network (SPMN.

During the last years we have been developing at Universidad Complutense de Madrid devices for sky patrol which include wide field cameras with wide angle lenses or fish-eye and cheap CCD detectors or even modified webcams. Now we use high sensitivity CCD video cameras. These cameras are so sensitive that can be used to detect meteors.

The astronomical observatory of the UCM (Observatorio UCM) is one of the nodes of SPMN which is an interdisciplinary research project whose main goal is to the promote the study of the interplanetary matter in Spain. More stations of SPMN are growing all over Spain. Their cameras detect meteor and fireballs with the aim of shed light into the origin of the rocks which produce the luminous trails in the Solar System. Those shooting stars with brightness similar to or higher than planet Venus (the brightess sky object) are named fireballs. Their origin is a particle with mass ranging from 1 gramm to thousands of tonnes. Since their origin is in other Solar System bodies, theis study is extremly useful. In fact the brightess ones signal a meteorite fall which could inform us about formation process that took place at asteroids, comets and planets.

Multiple station meteors allows us to obtain the trajectories and determine the landing area. Besides, their speed when entering the atmosphere is a key information to track to their parent bodies, comets an asteroids, including NEOS. When recovered they may provide detailed information about the primordial Solar System and possibly about the origins of life on Earth. SPMN researches are proud to belong to the first network which have recover two metorites in three years.

The UCM sky patrol station is located at the top of Facultad de CC. Físicas building as a facility of Observatorio UCM.

Detección de Bólidos en la UCM (Esta información en español)