Calculating Meteor Altitude – The ZOMBIE Project

(Zenith Oriented Meteor Baseline Imaging Explorer)


Project ZOMBIE, the first exercise in our Hands-On Astronomy program, is a simple and inexpensive experiment that uses photography and the principle of parallax to determine the altitude of meteors. ZOMBIE is an acronym for Zenith Oriented Meteor Baseline Imaging Explorer. To participate, all you need is the desire to and a camera that can take a long duration exposure, about 14 minutes. We are planning the first round of ZOMBIE imaging for Monday night, August 12th, 2002; this is the peak of the very reliable, annual Perseid Meteor Shower.

Project ZOMBIE has been made as simple as possible so lots of people can participate. It should be lots of fun. The procedure uses ‘fixed cameras’, cameras that are not moving relative to the Earth. But since the Earth is rotating your images will show star trails.

To find out more about Project ZOMBIE and download the full article (link below) to get the instructions on how to build your own ZOMBIE apparatus.

Project ZOMBIE (PDF)