A summary of the activity of the CAMS BeNeLux network during the month of January 2019 is presented. January 2019 was a typical winter month with a limited number of hours with clear sky. 10943 meteors were recorded, 5124 of which proved multiple station, or 47%, good for 1857 orbits.


1 Introduction

After a long favorable weather period over the North Western part of Europe in 2018 the normal weather pattern returned since the second half of November. December 2018 was a typical wet and cloudy winter month. Would January 2019 bring any surprises?


2 January 2019 statistics

To keep a video camera network functioning the volunteers who operate the cameras need to be motivated. A regular feedback with results proves an efficient way to encourage people to report their data on time. Most participants report their data immediately the day after the registrations. Some people report their data a little bit later but within one week. This way no red tape occurs with the data reduction pipeline.

So far, all months of January in the short history of CAMS BeNeLux brought the usual cloudy winter weather without any year with an exceptional favorable January for astronomical observations. The first month of 2019 continued this tradition with mainly unfavorable weather and just one really clear night. All other nights brought clear gaps of variable length between the clouds and as many as 9 nights ended without any single orbit.

CAMS BeNeLux managed to collect 10.943 meteors with 75 operational cameras at 20 participating stations, with 5124 or 47% multi-station meteors good for 1857 orbits. This is a remarkable good result, taking into account the unfavorable weather. Although less stations and significant fewer cameras participated compared to last year, almost the same total score in orbits was obtained. This is likely due to AutoCAMS being applied at more stations to get more out of each moment with clear sky. This proves the remarkable efficiency of the CAMS BeNeLux system.

At best 75 of the 88 operational cameras were active during nights in January 2019. On average 64.0 cameras were capturing per night. Only one night did not have any meteor registered. Thanks to AutoCAMS the surveillance of the BeNeLux sky was guaranteed with a minimum of 54 active cameras on all nights. On 22 nights orbits have been collected. The long winter nights may often start with an overcast sky looking hopeless to get anything like clear sky, but nights with up to 14 hours of dark sky may surprise with some unexpected clear sky. Casual observers often remain unaware of such clear periods, while the AutoCAMS observers get happily surprised when confirming unexpected meteors. A substantial part of the January 2019 orbits comes from this permanent alertness provided by AutoCAMS. Figure 1 and Table 1 show the evolution compared to the previous months of January.


Figure 1 – Comparing January 2019 to previous months of January in the CAMS BeNeLux history. The blue bars represent the number of orbits, the red bars the maximum number of cameras running in a single night and the yellow bar the average number of cameras running per night.


Table 1 – January 2019 compared to previous months of January.

Year Nights Orbits Stations Max. Cams Min. Cams Mean Cams
2013 7 49 6 6 2.6
2014 21 514 11 27 14.8
2015 22 880 14 39 26.1
2016 25 1037 15 49 10 34.0
2017 23 2058 18 55 18 42.3
2018 25 1878 22 86 53 72.0
2019 22 1857 20 75 54 64.0
Total 145 8273


Since the major expansion of the network in 2017, the number of stations and cameras remained stable since end of 2017. Bad luck and technical issues interfered at several stations keeping a number of cameras unavailable for some time. Especially the EzCap 116 framegrabbers proved rather unreliable and responsible for most of the technical failures.

3  Conclusion

The team members spent a lot of efforts to get some results out of mostly cloudy nights. Despite the bad weather still a very nice result has been obtained. The variable weather combined with long winter nights produces often some short intervals with clear skies. In many cases no chances for clear sky exist in the evening and therefore AutoCAMS is recommended to have all cameras running whenever unexpected clear sky occurs.



Many thanks to all participants in the CAMS BeNeLux network for their dedicated efforts. Thanks to Carl Johannink for providing all the data on which this report is based. The CAMS BeNeLux team is operated by the following volunteers:

Hans Betlem (Leiden, CAMS 371, 372 and 373), Jean-Marie Biets (Wilderen, CAMS 380, 381 and 382), Martin Breukers (Hengelo, CAMS 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328 and 329), Bart Dessoy (Zoersel, CAMS 397, 398, 804, 805, 806 and 888), Jean-Paul Dumoulin / Christian Wanlin (Grapfontaine, CAMS 814 and 815), Luc Gobin (Mechelen, CAMS 390, 391, 807 and 808), Robert Haas (Alphen aan de Rijn, CAMS 3160, 3161, 3162, 3163, 3164, 3165, 3166 and 3167), Robert Haas / Edwin van Dijk (Burlage, CAMS 801, 802, 821 and 822) , Robert Haas (Texel, CAMS 810, 811, 812 and 813), Klaas Jobse (Oostkapelle, CAMS 3030, 3031, 3032, 3033, 3034, 3035, 3036 and 3037), Carl Johannink (Gronau, CAMS 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317 and 318), Hervé Lamy (Ukkel, CAMS 393; Dourbes, CAMS 395), Koen Miskotte (Ermelo, CAMS 351, 352, 353 and 354) , Piet Neels (Terschelling, CAMS 841, 842, 843 and 844), Tim Polfliet (Gent, CAMS 396), Steve Rau (Zillebeke, CAMS 3850 and 3852), Paul Roggemans (Mechelen, CAMS 383, 384, 388, 389, 399 and 809), Hans Schremmer (Niederkruechten, CAMS 803), Erwin van Ballegoij (CAMS 347 and 348) ) and Marco Van der Weide (CAMS 3110).