Infrasonic Observations of Meteoroids: Preliminary Results from a Coordinated Optical-radar-infrasound Observing Campaign

  • Wayne N. EdwardsEmail author
  • Peter G. Brown
  • Robert J. Weryk
  • Douglas O. ReVelle
Chapter 2: Observation Techniques and Programs


Recent observations using the newly installed Elginfield infrasound array in coordination with the Southern Ontario all-sky meteor camera network and Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR) has shown that the number of meteors producing infrasound at the Earth’s surface is more frequent than previously thought. These data show the flux of meteoroids capable of producing infrasound at the ground is at least 1/month and is limited to meteors with peak visual brightness above −2. Comparisons to current meteor infrasound theory show excellent agreement with amplitude and period predictions for weakly non-linear shock waves using a realistic vertically inhomogeneous atmosphere. Similar predictions show isothermal assumptions underestimate the amplitude by orders of magnitude.


Atmosphere Infrasound Meteor Meteoroid Shock waves 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. J. Borovička, The comparison of two methods of determining meteor trajectories from photographs. Bull. Astron. Inst. Czech. 41, 391–396 (1990)ADSGoogle Scholar
  2. P. Brown, A.R. Hildebrand, D.W.E. Green, D. Pagé, C. Jacobs, D. ReVelle, E. Tagliaferri, J. Wacker, B. Wetmiller, The fall of the St-Robert meteorite. Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 31, 502–517 (1996)ADSGoogle Scholar
  3. P.G. Brown, R.W. Whitaker, D.O. ReVelle, E. Tagliaferri, Multi-station infrasonic observations of two bolides: signal interpretation and implications for monitoring of atmospheric explosions. Geophys. Res. Lett. 29 (2002). doi:  10.1029/2001GL013778
  4. P.G. Brown, W.N. Edwards, D.O. ReVelle, P. Spurny, Acoustic analysis of shock production by very high-altitude meteors—I: infrasonic observations, dynamics and luminosity. J. Atmos. Solar-Terres. Phys. 69, 600–620 (2007)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  5. Z. Ceplecha, Geometric, dynamic, orbital and photometric data on meteoroids from photographic fireball networks. Bull. Astron. Inst. Czech. 38, 222–234 (1987)ADSGoogle Scholar
  6. Z. Ceplecha, R.E. McCrosky, Fireball end heights: a diagnostic for the structure of meteoric material, J. Geophys. Res. 81, 6257–6275 (1976)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  7. Z. Ceplecha, J. Borovička, W.G. Elford, D.O. ReVelle, R.L. Hawkes, V. Porubčan, M. Šimek, Meteor phenomena and bodies. Space Sci. Rev. 84, 327–471 (1998)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  8. W.N. Edwards, A.R. Hildebrand, SUPRACENTER: Locating fireball terminal bursts in the atmosphere using seismic arrivals, Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 39, 1449–1460 (2004)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  9. W.N. Edwards, P.G. Brown, D.O. ReVelle, Estimates of meteoroid kinetic energies from observations of infrasonic airwaves. J. Atmos. Solar-Terres. Phys. 68, 1136–1160 (2006)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  10. A.E. Hedin, Extension of the MSIS thermospheric model into the middle and lower atmosphere. J. Geophys. Res. 96, 1159–1172 (1991)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  11. A.E. Hedin, E.L. Fleming, A.H. Manson, F.J. Schmidlin, S.K. Avery, R.R. Clark, S.J. Franke, G.J. Fraser, T. Tsuda, F. Vial, R.A. Vincent, Empirical wind model for the upper, middle and lower atmosphere. J. Atmos. Terres. Phys. 58, 1421–1447 (1996)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  12. W.K. Hocking, Strengths and limitations of MST radar measurements of middle-atmosphere winds. Ann. Geophys. 15, 1111–1122 (1997)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  13. J. Jones, P. Brown, K.J. Ellis, A.R. Webster, M. Campbell-Brown, Z. Krzemenski, R.J. Weryk, The Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar: system overview and preliminary results. Planet. Space Sci. 53, 413–421 (2005)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  14. A.R. Klekociuk, P.G. Brown, D.W. Pack, D.O. ReVelle, W.N. Edwards, R.E. Spalding, E. Tagliaferri, Y.B. Bernard, J. Zagari, Lidar, satellite and acoustic measurements of an asteroidal airburst in Earth’s atmosphere. Nature 436, 1132–1135 (2005)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  15. D.R. Kraemer, Infrasound from accurately measured meteor trails, Ph.D. Dissertation, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, MI (1977)Google Scholar
  16. A. Le Pichon, J.M. Guerin, E. Blanc, D. Raymond, Trail in the atmosphere of the 29 December 2000 meteor as recorded in Tahiti: characteristics and Trajectory reconstitution, J. Geophys. Res. 107 (2002). doi:  10.1029/2001JD001283
  17. B.A. McIntosh, M.D. Watson, D.O. ReVelle, Infrasound from a radar-observed meteor. Can. J. Phys. 54, 655–662 (1976)ADSGoogle Scholar
  18. J. Oberst, S. Molau, D. Heinlein, C. Gritzner, M. Schindler, P. Spurny, Z. Ceplecha, J. Rendtel, H. Betlem, The “European Fireball Network”: current status and future prospects. Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 33, 49–56 (1998)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. D.O. ReVelle, Acoustics of meteors—effects of the atmospheric temperature and wind structure on the sounds produced by meteors. Ph.D. Dissertation, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, MI (1974)Google Scholar
  20. D.O. ReVelle, On meteor-generated infrasound. J. Geophys. Res. 81, 1217–1230 (1976)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. D.O. ReVelle, in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Near-Earth Objects—The United Nations International Conference, ed. by J.L. Remo. Historical detection of atmospheric impacts by large bolides using acoustic-gravity waves, vol 822 (New York Academy of Sciences, New York, NY, USA, 1997), pp. 284–302Google Scholar
  22. D.O. ReVelle, R.W. Whitaker, Infrasonic detection of a Leonid bolide: 1998 November 17. Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 34, 995–1005 (1999)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. R. Swinbank, A.A. O’Neill, Stratosphere–Troposphere Data Assimilation System. Mon. Weather Rev 122, 686–702 (1994)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  24. R.J. Weryk, P.G. Brown, W.N. Edwards, Z. Krzeminski, S.H. Nudds, A. Domokos, D.L. Welch, The Southern Ontario meteor camera network. Earth Moon Planets (2007), this issueGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wayne N. Edwards
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter G. Brown
    • 1
  • Robert J. Weryk
    • 2
  • Douglas O. ReVelle
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  3. 3.Atmospheric, Climate and Environmental Dynamics, Meteorological Modeling TeamLos Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA

Personalised recommendations