To begin the meeting our President Mark Phillips gave us a flavour of the upcoming Society programme. Adding to the good news, the Society grew by a further two members !
Our main talk was from a veteran Radio Astronomer based in Anchorage, Alaska, Mr Whitham (Whit) D. Reeve who talked to us about “HF Meteor Trail Reflections Observed at Anchorage, Alaska USA”. This is a new field of astronomy for many of us and Whit certainly helped to make the subject understandable.
After outlining his own background, Whit then introduced a number of interesting facts about meteors, including the tiny size of the majority of them ( 2 microns to 2mm ), despite which an estimated 5000 tons falls to Earth each year ! He then explained that the trail of ionised atoms left in the wake of the meteors will reflect radio waves.
This provides a means of recording many details about them for scientific research.
This was done by radio propagation using transmitters widely spaced on the surface of the planet. We were amazed that such a transitory phenomenon was observable and measurable using techniques that literally span the globe, from Hawaii to Colorado !
Whit then gave many examples of the observations made by him using this equipment.
He then wound up his presentation with a number of very useful web links and references for those members who might wish to pursue the topic further. This is a strong possibility given the depth of the questions that followed!
These are the papers he referenced: