Welcome to the Meteor Section

We deal not only with “ordinary” shooting stars (meteors), but also with the spectacular fireballs that occasionally light up the night sky.

The highlights of the year for meteor observers are the major meteor showers. These occur at the same time each year and during their peaks many more meteors will be seen than at other times of the year.

The aim of the Meteor Section is to provide SPA members with information about meteors and fireballs and the methods used to observe them. Members are also encouraged to report the results of their observations to the section.

Two meteors
Two Geminid meteors imaged by Bill Ward at 21:54:45 UT on 2014 Dec 12
How can you get involved?

Visual Meteor observing may either be carried out as a solo observer or as part of a group.

All you need is a good dark observing site, a clear view of the sky … and patience.

Local astronomical societies may find that organising group meteor watches at the times of maxima of the major meteors showers is a good way to get to know their members and to introduce them to the wonders of the night sky (in a way that avoids people having to queue to get a brief look through a telescope!). In addition, seeing a bright meteor or fireball when observing as part of a group and hearing the reactions of other observers greatly enhances the experience.

Alternatively, simply observe with a friend. Having someone to chat to helps you to keep alert while you enjoy the spectacle.

And, afterwards, do let us know what you have seen.

Nowadays, many observers attempt to capture images of bright meteors, or even capture them on video.  You can read more about this in our  DSLR imaging guide  and our  video observing guide

Sketch of a fireball
Sketch of a fireball
Want to “join” the Meteor Section?

Anyone who sends in observations is effectively a “member” of the section. There is no “formal” process for joining. Even if your circumstances don’t make it possible for you to go out and observe meteors, or if the weather has thwarted your observing attempts, you can still regard yourself as a “follower” of the section

Reports based on observations received are published via these web pages and in the SPA’s bi-monthly magazine Popular Astronomy. If you are not currently a SPA member, you are missing out on these: SPA membership benefits.

Want to know more?

Please use the drop down menus on this page to access more information about meteor showers and fireballs and how to observe them.

Never be afraid to ask questions if you are not certain what to do, or want more information on any meteor-related topics, and don’t worry about your inexperience or making mistakes when you start out. Every experienced observer has made – and still occasionally makes – mistakes; that is how they gained their experience.

Email: meteor@popastro.com
Address in Popular Astronomy