Meteor observations

There are three different types of meteor echoes that can be observed with radar systems. The most common echoes are the specular meteor trail echoes. These echoes can be detected with small meteor radar systems and offer us the possibility to gain information about the surrounding atmosphere in the MLT region. The second type of meteor echoes are produced due to radar reflections from small plasma irregularities around the meteoroid particle itself, and are therefore called meteor head echoes. To observe a reasonable number of meteor head echoes, high power larger aperture radar systems are required. We started the first continuous measurements of meteor head echoes with MAARSY in November 2013, which provides us information about the meteor particles and offers us the possibility to gain astrophysical quantities like trajectory parameters, mass estimations and source radians for meteor particle sizes, which are not observable by other techniques. The last and most unknown meteor echoes, at least at high latitudes, are the non specular meteor trails. Such long lasting meteor trail echoes were at first only observed at equatorial and low latitude regions and the scattering process was therefore attributed field-aligned plasma irregularities. The fact that we observe this type of meteor echoes at polar latitudes, has changed our understanding of the underlying scattering process.


  • C. Schult, G. Stober, D. Janches, J. L. Chau, Results of the first continuous meteor head echo survey at polar latitudes, Icarus, 297, 1-13, 2017.
  • C. Schult, P. Brown, P. Pokorný , G. Stober , J. L. Chau, A meteoroid stream survey using meteor head echo observations from the Middle Atmosphere ALOMAR Radar System (MAARSY), Icarus, 309, 177-186, 2018.
  • P. Brown, G. Stober, C. Schult, Z. Krzeminski, W. Cooke, J.L. Chau, Simultaneous optical and meteor head echo measurements using the Middle Atmosphere Alomar Radar System (MAARSY): Data collection and preliminary analysis, Planetary and Space Science, 141, 25-34, 2017, 10.1016/ j.pss.2017.04.013.
  • J. L. Chau, I. Strelnikova, C. Schult, M. M. Oppenheim, M. C. Kelley, G. Stober und W. Singer, Non-specular meteor trails from non-field-aligned irregularities: Can they be explained by presence of charged meteor dust?, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1002/2014GL059922, 2014