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Instructions for the visual meteor observing form

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In an effort to make each observer's work useable, and to thus standardize the data collected, I am introducing a new form for AMS observers to use. This form is useable by observers wishing to make visual counts (descriptive) or for those interested in a program of plotting meteors. I recommend new observers begin with visual counts, and when sufficient experience is gained, begin a program of plotting meteors.
Below is a step-by-step explanation of the fields and columns on this form. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need additional information.

1) OBSERVER INFORMATION - the standard observer information such as date, time, longitude and latitude as well as elevation of your observing site, name, and location of your site (city, state, or some descriptive term), all are recorded at the top of the form.

It is standard to use a double date. For example, the observing night of August

11/12 represents the evening of August 11 and the morning of August 12. Even if the

observation began after midnight, the date is still written as August 11/12. All

observations should be recorded in universal time if possible. If you are unsure of how to convert local time to universal time, then indicate what time zone you are reporting. This will allow the time to be converted when the observation is archived.

2) LIMITING MAGNITUDE - the limiting magnitude of the sky determined by the faintest star an observer can see.
3) PERCENT CLOUDY - obstructions to a field of view can be caused by trees, buildings, or clouds. While observing, the percentage of sky that is blocked by these obstructions is noted here at the beginning of the session and at any time a change has taken place.
4) DIRECTION FACING & ALTITUDE - where you look in the sky will affect your results. List both compass direction and altitude above the horizon. For example: SE(45).
5 ) BREAKS - record the time in which your attention is not focused on the sky for any reason.
6) COMMENTS - record any other information about your observation that might be useful.

  1. TIME - the appearance time of the meteor, to the nearest minute, listed in universal time, or the same time zone as listed in the observer section.

  1. MAG - the whole magnitude of the meteor as compared to stars of known brightness.

  1. COLOR - any definite, observed color of the meteor.

  1. TYPE - the shower membership of the meteor, or leave blank if the meteor was a sporadic.

  1. DURATION - the duration of a meteor in tenths of a second.

  1. LENGTH - the estimated length, in degrees, of a meteor's path across the sky.

  1. VELOCITY - list the velocity of the meteor as slow, medium or fast.

  1. DCV - the distance, from your center of vision, that the meteor first appeared. It is normally reported in multiples of 10 degrees.

  1. TRAIN - the length of time that any persistent train is visible.

  1. PLOT - check this column if the meteor is plotted. As an alternative, list the chart number the plotted meteor appears on.

  1. REMARKS - list the chart number of a plotted meteor if not listed in the previous column. List any other information you feel is important concerning the meteor.

Mail a copy of the completed form, and any plotting charts to:
Robert Lunsford

AMS Visual Program Coordinator

161 Vance Street

Chula Vista, CA 91910-4828

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