South African Cameras Installations

South Africa

The four GMN project meteor cameras donated to ASSA (Astronomical Society of Southern Africa) by an anonymous benefactor for use by schools in Southern Africa were installed and aligned at Touwsrivier Primary and Laingsburg Secondary Schools just before the Easter school holidays. The photos show the cameras being handed over to the respective Principals on behalf the GMN project and ASSA.
There are 29 participants from 4 schools in Laingsburg, Touwsrivier, Hermanus and Gansbaai with the gender split slightly favouring the ladies.
The handover address obviously mentioned what Meteors are, where they come from and why their study is important. Some background was given about the Global Meteor Network as a citizen science group of volunteers around the world with objective of detecting meteors under the slogan No Meteor Undetected. They operate more than 800 cameras to record meteors, calculate their trajectories, support meteor and solar system science, and develop new techniques in meteor science.
Some of the facts mentioned elicited strong responses:
☼ Surprise. The fact that several hundred tonnes of small particles enter the Earth’s atmosphere every day puts the number of visible meteors every cloudless night into perspective and explains the GMN’s slogan of No Meteor Undetected.
☼ Awe & Excitement. The new skills which participants will learn as part of the project is both mouth-watering and daunting, as is the prospect of possibly contributing to the development of new techniques in meteor science.
☼ Amazement. The fact that these four cameras are the first for this project on the African continent elicited almost disbelief.
☼ Appreciation & Determination. All participating learners were extremely appreciative of being able to be part of such a meaningful project.
This first small step will now be followed by the hard slog of getting the cameras operational, understanding the results obtained and how to display and utilise the data. A steep learning curve lies ahead, but at least one that will be tackled with enthusiasm and vigour.