In the present world, meteors observation is one of the simplest forms of astronomy. Before we define what a meteor is, let us see what a meteoroid is. A meteoroid is a bit of rock and ice separated from a comet during their journey through the Earth’s atmosphere. Without further ado, let us define a meteor. A meteor is a meteoroid, which scorches during its journey through the earth’s atmosphere.
In the modern world, there are many organizations and scientific societies established solely to collect information of meteors and keep accurate record of their sightings. All of them work towards the same set of objectives because of one reason- the love for meteors!
However, some organizations prove to be better than the other organizations through sheer determination and pure, incomparable love. One of these organizations is the American Meteors Society, a not-for-profit corporation based in New York.
History of the American Meteors Society
The AMS’ foundation stone was laid in 1911, courtesy of Dr. Charles Olivier, now deceased. The AMS was at first just a subsidiary of the much grander Astronomical Society of America, and now it has many hundreds of volunteers.
Dr. Olivier’s main aim while creating this organization was to supervise a joint effort between professional and amateur astronomers in order to conduct graphic observations of meteor showers in addition to individual meteors (called sporadic meteors).
During the 1950s, the interest of the professional community started shifting from the old observations techniques to the use of modern radars and photographic observations. This provoked Dr. Olivier for moving the emphasis of his study to the vast term statistical research of sporadic fluctuations. After compiling all previous findings and new ones too, Dr. Olivier put together the Visual Database of AMS, cataloging the average meteors seen per hour of each night.
The current goals of the American Meteor Society
As of its’ document of incorporation, the AMS works to;
- Promote and inspire research of both professionals and amateurs
- Observe and collect information on all aspects of meteoric astronomy
- Publish all scientific materials regarding meteoric astronomy
- Issue a newsletter regarding findings in meteoric astronomy
- Carry out activities related with meteoric astronomy
Contributions of the Meteor Society of America
The contributions of AMS towards the fascinating science of meteoric astronomy are admirable, including Dr. Olivier’s four catalogs of daily sightings. Furthermore, they have provided a stage for many amateur astronomers and enthusiasts to submit their findings. In addition, they compile data and publish it online for everyone to see. This way, everyone can get amused by the extremely interesting science of meteor astronomy! Last, they annually publish predictions of meteor showers, paving way for even the average human to enjoy the occasion!
It is organizations like AMS and people like Dr. Olivier that ensure the art of meteor observation is preserved for all times to come, and that the interest in meteor astronomy is cultivated in every living human being!
On behalf of the earthly beings, thank you AMS!