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Fireballs Aotearoa

‘We found it!’

At 9.04 pm on the evening of March 13th 2024, a fireball shot across the South Island of New Zealand. The combined fireball path was calculated from 96 to 23 km elevation by four camera stations, which showed that it decelerated from 18 km/s to 5 km/s. The dark flight model for the main mass resulted in a strewn field in the Tekapo/Takapō region of the central South Island, and an 810 gram fusion-encrusted stony meteorite was recovered within 30 minutes of beginning the public search (see the MeteorNews article for the full story).

Fireballs Aotearoa’s network comprises meteor-tracking camera mounted in schools, institutions, observatories and with the public. The goals of our non-commercial camera network are to aid the discovery and characterisation of New Zealand’s next meteorite, feed into global meteor shower observations, and engage the public in night-sky observations. We are a Section of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand. We welcome anyone who’s interested.

Get Involved

We regularly post information on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FireballsNZ/.

Get your own camera and join us!

Aotearoa New Zealand needs more camera stations to provide comprehensive coverage of the southern skies. There are several mountable camera options. The cameras come with completely automated software so that you can passively participate, knowing the camera is collecting data, or you can actively take part by learning how to use the data to triangulate meteors and fireballs. In all cases, we will provide advice and help with configuration.

Raspberry Pi Meteor Station (RMS)

These cameras are easy to build and capture an area of the sky 90o wide by 45o high. Comprehensive instructions for ordering parts and assembling the system are available here and You Tube-based help with assembly can be found here. The cost of parts is about NZ$500. RMS cameras are also built in NZ by Fireballs Aotearoa volunteers. The cost of these assembled camera systems is currently $550, including postage. You can observe what the camera capture each night here: https://fireballs.nz/map/. Please e-mail FireballsAotearoa@gmail.com if you are interested.

Allsky7

For individuals wanting all-sky coverage in colour video footage, an AllSky7 setup is a great choice. These one dome systems comprise 7 cameras and one fish-eye lens that give full-sky coverage at a location. The cameras run in colour, generate wonderful videos, and run day and night. AllSky7 systems cost around $2500 if built in New Zealand by Fireballs Aotearoa volunteers. We must bulk order the parts, which means that there May be a wait for a camera until there is sufficient interest. For more information, see https://www.allsky7.net. Please e-mail FireballsAotearoa@gmail.com if you are interested.

About

Fireballs Aotearoa aims to recover freshly-fallen meteorites and to observe meteor showers in New Zealand. We are a public-facing collaboration of volunteers from the public, schools, universities and observatories, and are a designated Section of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand. The project was launched in February 2022 by Jack Baggaley, Michele Bannister, Hamish Barker, John Drummond, Bob Evans, Jim Rowe, James Scott and Jeremy Taylor. At that time, the network comprised 2 stations and imaged 210 meteors during that month. In February 2023, the camera network was distributed from Stewart Island to Northland to the Chatham Islands and was capturing more than 10,000 meteors per month. Fireballs Aotearoa oversees the deployment and maintenance of two meteor camera types and belongs to three meteor networks:

  • The Allsky7 cameras send their data to the Allsky7 Fireball Network and provide colour videos of the total night sky. These continuously active cameras upload their data to a cloud server, where they are accessible by the host and that network. The live views, along with a variety of information about the system, can be found here: https://www.allsky7.net.
  • The Raspberry PI meteor stations (RMS) send their data each morning to two networks: the Global Meteor Network (GMN, last night’s data here)
  • RMS also sends data to the NASA Cameras for Allsky Surveillance (CAMS – data contributes to this page) network.

Get in touch with us at FireballsAotearoa@gmail.com.

Report a Fireball

If you have seen a fireball, please click here to tell us about it.

Report a Meteorite

Do you have a rock you think might be a meteorite- Send an email to meteorites@rasnz.org.nz with images and a description of the rock. Make sure these are in focus, and try to image broken surfaces that might show the rock interior. Please also include when and where it was found. We have no commercial interest in meteorites. If your rock turns out to be a meteorite, we urge you to donate it to a museum so that it can be appreciated by public and scientists. If you wish to buy a meteorite, then there are plenty of locations

Donations

We are extremely grateful to the two anonymous donors that helped us get the network active. Their generous contributions were used to purchase cameras and enable our volunteers to build, configure and dispatch them. We would welcome opportunities to partner with more people or, for example, have someone sponsor a camera for a school or observatory. Get in touch with at FireballsAotearoa@gmail.com.

Web site matters

To report any errors or other matters relating to the web site and its contents please email the web master.

Acknowledgements

Fireballs Aotearoa expresses its appreciation to its supporters and donors, including the anonymous ones (you know who you are!) and: