Open Access

Meteor observations with an MF radar

  • Masaki Tsutsumi1Email author,
  • David Holdsworth2,
  • Takuji Nakamura3 and
  • Iain Reid4
Earth, Planets and Space201451:BF03353227

DOI: 10.1186/BF03353227

Received: 19 August 1998

Accepted: 10 June 1999

Published: 26 June 2014


We conducted meteor echo observations using the Buckland Park MF radar (35°S, 138°E) at 00:40–05:45 LT on October 22, 1997. In addition to the usual full correlation analysis (FCA) technique to measure horizontal wind velocities from 60 to 100 km MF radars have a potential to detect meteor echoes and infer winds through their Doppler frequency shifts. Because of the relatively low radio frequency employed MF radars have a great advantage of providing meteor wind well above 100 km altitude, where very few techniques can measure wind velocities. There is a limitation which should be noted as well. The observations are possible only during night time when the electron density of E-region is low enough for the radio wave to penetrate into the upper region. We detected 233 underdense meteor echoes from 80 km to 120 km with a mean height of 104.4 km. Although the transmitting antenna beams were steered toward off-zenith angles of 25°, almost all the echoes were received outside of the main lobe, indicating that conventional MF radar systems with a broad transmitting beam can work well for meteor observations. Bi-hourly wind profiles were obtained from 94 to 114 km altitudes. The profiles revealed a clear wave structure with a downward phase progression with time. FCA winds from 80 to 100 km were also estimated, and a continuous wind structure was obtained from FCA to meteor heights. Note that the present observations happened to be conducted during a major meteor shower activity. However, a majority of the underdense echoes were from non-shower meteors, and observations during non-shower periods will also yield enough information.