31 Jul Desert Fireball Network updates – things are happening!
Hello everyone! Phil here, giving you an update on how things are going with the Desert Fireball Network.
Everyone in the team has been pulling out all the stops building the cameras, and writing the software to run them. They’ve done a great job. Eight months ago we had a breadboard design – something that was working in the lab. Five months ago we had our first field-testable camera, which we deployed in the Nullarbor. For the last two months we’ve had additional upgraded versions working alongside it, to form a digital network in the Nullarbor. And while they’re being tested, and sending us back data, we’re putting together the next generation of cameras – fully automated mini-observatories, calibrating themselves, monitoring their status, taking beautiful images throughout the night, and picking the best to send back to us. These will form the heart of the Desert Fireball Network. We’re building a batch of 8-10 right now. They should be ready in a couple of months, at which point we’ll be installing them at local observatories, and also in the Wheatbelt – hopefully at Wheatbelt schools. So we’ll have kind of a ‘local’ fairly accessible network – useful if we need to tweak or test or add anything, and a Nullarbor network – useful for really testing the cameras in a tough environment. Running the cameras like this should give us all the information that we need to allow us to expand the network into new areas – the more area we can cover, the more fireballs we can see, and the more meteorites we can recover. That’s when things will get really interesting! So keep watching this space.