Meteor observing has been around for centuries yet many people have no idea what it is. It is simply going out in the early hours of the morning, reclining in a chair and waiting for the occasional shooting star. This method has been relied on for years by meteorologists. However, it is an amateur way of observing stars. There are certain characteristics that define advance meteor observing that individuals who seek or want to be acknowledged as an expert must follow. The following are what makes advance meteor observing better than amateur observing:
- Consistency: To be an expert in advance meteor observing, you have to be consistent in your skills. There has to be a record of all observations noted in a timely and timeouts manner. It is not just enough to watch stars and be aware of what to look. The best method is to have a book dedicated solely for this purpose. There should be slated time intervals for the watch to take place. Recording this data down gives a more concrete and consistent approach to advance meteor observing.
- Time: Advance meteor observing takes place after midnight. This is when the front side of the Earth that faces gathers greater amount of meteors instead of the trailing side, which occurs before midnight.
- Kit: You will need fully equipped before carrying out advance meteor observation. Cold weather observers need to be well dressed. The device used to carry out the observation needs to be kept inside a coat. This is to prevent freezing up of the recorder. For other types of observers, you will need a watch, a flashlight for reading your watch, a book or clipboard for noting observations, a pencil or a tape recorder for manually dictating observations as an alternative to a book.
- Technique: Observing stars in an advanced way requires a technique to it. If you just left a intensely lit environment, provide your eyes about 20 minutes for adjusting to the new vicinity. Make sure your vision is not obstructed by anything. Even if it is obstructed, make sure it does not affect more than 21% of your vision. It is advisable to take note of the percentage the obstruction does cover for accurate analysis. Afterwards, count the total number of non-shower and shower meteors you can see. Occasionally, if a meteor catches your eye, note it down as shower or non-shower meteor. Find your lining magnitude as it is vital for making a detailed and accurate count. Do not forget to take a break occasionally to give your eyes rest. Note down the duration of the break.
Once these factors are complied with, you are on your way to advance meteor observing. However, an important thing in truly being an expert is to report the scientific observations after carrying out the final stages to the International Meteor Organization (IMO). You can then join the league of advance meteor observers all around the world.