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Meteoroids 2001

conference at the

Swedish Institute of Space Physics

Kiruna, Sweden

August 6-10, 2001


Scientific Organisation Committee:

Prof. W.J. Baggaley

University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Prof. Oleg Belkovich

Kazan State University, Russia

Dr. Gerhard Drolshagen

European Space Agency, Netherlands

Prof. Eberhard Grün

Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik, Germany

Dr. Robert Hawkes

Mount Allison University, Canada

Dr. Peter Jenniskens

NASA Ames Research Center, USA

Dr. Ingrid Mann

European Space Agency, Netherlands, and the University of Münster, Germany

Prof. David D. Meisel

State University of New York, USA

Dr. Edmond Murad

Air Force Research Laboratory, USA

Dr. Asta Pellinen-Wannberg

Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Sweden

Dr. Vladimir Porubcan

Astronomical Institute SAV, Slovakia

Dr. Junichi Watanabe

National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Japan

Prof. Iwan Williams

University of London, UK

Local Organisation Committee:

Asta Pellinen-Wannberg

Diego Janches

Eivor Jonsson (secretary)

Christina Jurén

Rick McGregor (webmaster)

Birgitta Määttä


This conference will be the fourth in a series of meteoroid meetings which have been held every few years since 1993, the last being in Tatranska Lomnica in 1998. It will accommodate a broad range of meteoroid research: dynamics, sources and distribution of these bodies, the physics and chemistry of their interaction process with the atmosphere as well as the space weather aspects in the form of their hypervelocity impact threat to spacecraft. Due to the high Leonid activity during recent years, much research has been devoted to these topics with both traditional and new optical, radar and in-situ methods from ground, airplane and spacecraft.

Much meteor stream modelling work has preceded the recent Tempel-Tuttle visit; in 1998 the quite moderate Leonids extended over a day, while in 1999 the sharp and much more intensive maximum was correctly predicted. There will be another opportunity to observe the Leonids (November 2000) and improve the models so the proposed conference is at a very optimum time to provide a forum for an overview of progress in the dynamics and modelling of meteor storms and valuable results are to be expected on understanding important (e.g. satellite damage) commercial interests.

In radar applications the data collection and signal processing techniques have developed hugely within a few years. Besides the traditional VHF meteor radars, large aperture VHF and UHF facilities as Arecibo and EISCAT have been used for meteor studies. With these extremely sensitive instruments, the mysterious head echo process can be studied with very high spatial and time resolution observing the effects on the background ionosphere simultaneously. Radars are important tools for studying the various origins of the meteoroids. Recent work (the AMOR and Arecibo instruments) has been able to provide definitive evidence for the expanding field of Interstellar Particle detection.

In-situ measurements on meteoroids and the observation of the interstellar particles with Ulysses spacecraft started a new era of space-borne experiments. Observational data about the local interstellar medium and the outer solar system including the Kuiper belt objects raise interest again in the orbital and collisional evolution of meteoroids, including "icy" meteoroids. In a similar way the observation of debris shells in circumstellar systems bears a new application of the study of the "meteoritic complex" from the fragmentation of large parent bodies to the formation of a dust cloud.

New global problems such as indications of climate change are being tackled. Meteoric constituents have an effect on the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere at and below the deposition heights. Especially, it is important to understand the impact of these on the artificial constituents. Studies of how the addition of meteoric constituents affect different atmospheric phenomena such as noctilucent clouds and ozone chemistry have increased in interest. Studies of meteoroid chemical composition and the ablation processes can even provide information about the state of early conditions in the solar system.

Hypervelocity impact effects on spacecraft is a very important application of the meteoroid science. The results from the meteor stream modelling discussed above especially for meteor shower periods are important. The flux of meteoroids large enough to penetrate the spacecraft and cause great damage is very low even during the Leonids. The more numerous smaller particles are much more dangerous since they can induce surface charging and trigger spacecraft anomalies similar to the high speed solar wind. Especially interesting is the relation between the meteor triggered anomalies and high solar activity. The growing number of satellites and consequently of space debris will rapidly increase the risks for impact damage on spacecraft.


The following scientific areas are proposed for this meeting:

* Dynamics, sources and spatial distribution of meteoroids including sporadic, swarm and interstellar meteoroids

* Physics and chemistry of meteoroid interaction process in the atmosphere including both head echo and trail effects

* Impacts of meteoric constituents on atmospheric phenomena

* Hypervelocity impact effects on spacecraft

* Leonids - meteor storms and their short-term environmental effects

With observations done with the following methods:

* Optical observations of meteors including cameras, telescopes and lidars

* Radar observations with meteor and large aperture radars

* In-situ measurements of meteoroids


The following is a list of confirmed invited speakers. This list will be updated as more information becomes available.

Dr Shinsuke Avell Abe, The Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan

Dr David Asher, Armagh Observatory, UK

Prof. W.J. Baggaley, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Prof. Oleg Belkovich, Kazan State University, Russia

Dr Margaret Campbell, University of Western Ontario, Canada

Dr Gerhard Drolshagen, European Space Agency, Netherlands

Prof. Bo Gustafsson, University of Florida, USA

Mr Hitoshi Hasegawa, ASTEC, Tokyo, Japan

Dr Hiroshi Kimura, University of Münster, Germany

Dr Markus Landgraf, European Space Agency, ESOC, Germany

Dr Bertil Anders Lindblad, Lund Observatory, Sweden

Prof. John D. Mathews, Pennsylvania State University, USA

Dr Edmond Murad, Air Force Research Laboratory, USA

Dr John Plane, University of East Anglia, UK

Dr Olga Popova, IDG RAS, Moscow, Russia

Dr Pavel Spurny, Astronomical Institute, Ondrejov, Czech Republic

Prof. Ulf von Zahn, Lebniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Germany


Sweden has a long tradition in meteor research. During many decades the research and observations were concentrated at the Lund and Onsala Observatories with their strong astronomical background. However, during 1990 Geminids some measurements optimised for sporadic E observations on the EISCAT incoherent scatter facility, located in Northern Scandinavia, offered an apparent surprise in the form of a large number of meteor head echoes. With this method many new aspects of the head echo process have been studied at different incoherent scatter facilities around the world.

The city of Kiruna's space involvement has grown together with the space era. The Swedish Institute of Space Physics was founded in 1957, the International Geophysical year and the same year as the first spacecraft, Sputnik, was launched. The institute is still located in the same place, the site of the conference. Today, Kiruna is an important centre for various activities connected to space and environmental research. The rocket range "Esrange" provides rocket and balloon launches and satellite telemetry. The European Incoherent Scatter facility (EISCAT) has both its headquarters and one radar site in Kiruna. Metria Satellus supplies remote sensing, analysis and processing of earth resource satellite images. The Environment and Space Research Institute (MRI) with funding from EU 1996-2000 introduced various types of studies of solar and human atmospheric and climatic impacts through the Spatial Modelling Centre (SMC), the Atmospheric Research Programme (AFP) at IRF and the Climate Impacts Research Centre (CIRC). Finally, there are several university programmes related to these activities located at the "space campus" growing up around the Swedish Institute of Space Physics.


Kiruna is located in northernmost Sweden 150 km north of the arctic circle, surrounded by mountains and the wilderness of Lapland. Kiruna was founded 100 years ago due to rich iron ore deposits. Today the LKAB iron mines are the largest underground mines in the world. Besides the industrial activities underground and in space, Kiruna still has its native people, the Saami or Lapps, working with traditional reindeer herding.

This variety together with the colourful aurora in the winter and the midnight sun in the summer attracts a lot of tourists to Kiruna. They are offered various adventures such as rafting, hiking, snowmobile and dog sledge tours and different types of skiing both in winter and summer through the light nights. A speciality is accommodation in the Ice Hotel rebuilt in snow every year in different architectonic solutions. Unfortunately this kind of accommodation is impossible during the conference, which is in the best time of the intensive arctic summer. The midnight sun has already disappeared, but the lagging greenness has reached its peak. The nights are still light, allowing late scientific discussions.


Conference e-mail address:

Updated 18 May 2001
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