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Get Involved

Get your own camera and join us!

All welcome

Right now, in Aotearoa New Zealand we have only limited coverage of the volume of space above the motu. More stations are needed over the entire country to provide decent coverage of the southern skies.

GMN-RMS meteor cameras from the Fireballs Aotearoa network.

Fortunately, it is easy to get a GMN Raspberry-Pi Meteor Station. There are three ways:

  • They are easy and cheap to build! The cost of parts is about NZ$500. Comprehensive instructions for ordering parts and assembling the system are available here and YouTube-based help with assembly can be found here.
  • If building your own camera system isn’t your thing, camera systems are being built in NZ by volunteers and can be sold to you. The cost of these assembled camera systems is currently $550 including postage. Please e-mail FireballsAotearoa@gmail.com so we can send you more information.

Once installed and connected to your home WiFi network, it quietly chugs away, capturing about 20Gb of raw data each clear (or even partially clear) night then boiling it down the next day and uploading about 1GB of meteor data. The data is sent to the GMN server at the University of Western Ontario. To capture meteor data every clear night, you don’t need to drag equipment out into the cold and dark. You don’t need to manually record any data. It’s a long-running set-and-forget project that you can pick up whenever your camera catches something really interesting.

The Otago meteorite fall of 28th August 2022, as seen from a Fireballs Aotearoa camera. In this composite view, the other 116 meteors seen that night are also shown. Sadly after a week’s searching the meteorite wasn’t found – it’s still out there somewhere!

If you don’t wish to be totally passive, but would like to keep an eye on what your meteor camera is achieving, there are handy dashboards that will show you image stacks that overlay all the detected meteors from the previous night, radiant charts that show which part of the sky the meteors came from, maps that combine your data with those of others nearby to show the direction of travel of detected meteors, and equipment calibration plots that demonstrate your equipment is tuning itself to produce good quality datasets.

You can expect to be credited for your data in any scientific papers published that draw on data you contributed.

If you would like to be part of the project, you can join our mailing list by e-mailing us at FireballsAotearoa@gmail.com. To get a camera, scroll back up and follow the links.