The Virtual Meteor Observatory


The VMO was a web interface with an underlying database which allows storing meteor data. The current implementation goes back to a development by G. Barentsen in 2008 and can be found at Due to changes in ESA security, we cannot make the data accessible any more via this searchable interface and are looking for a new host for the VMO. These pages are kept here just for historical interest.


A recent trend in astronomy is the creation of so-called Virtual Observatories, which are initiatives aimed at providing improved access to astronomical data and computing resources. For example, it has become possible to query a specific part of the sky for observations from different surveys, allowing one to seamlessly combine data from multiple instruments and wavelengths.

Various projects have been funded to make Virtual Observatories available for different communities. These projects include the European Virtual Observatory, the Virtual Solar Observatory, the Virtual Solar-Terrestrial Observatory, the Virtual Magnetospheric Observatory, the Virtual Space Physics Observatory, and many others. One may visit their websites to see the concept of a Virtual Observatory demonstrated. The projects generally use technical standards that have been put forward by the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA). 

A recent discussion in the Meteor Orbit Determination Working Group (MODWG) on the naming of an online database for video observations [1] has led to the idea for a Virtual Meteor Observatory. The Virtual Meteor Observatory (VMO) would be a central informatics platform for the meteor science community, providing online access to data resources from different institutions and groups. The VMO would make it easier to combine data from different observing projects, allowing new research and more comprehensive analyses to be performed.

The VMO is similar to the earlier concept of a Unified Meteor Database [2], but will use Virtual Observatory standards to increase the visibility and recognition for meteor data in the astronomical community. The development of the VMO may also be an opportunity to obtain funding for a long-term collaborative effort in the meteor science community.

A first version of the VMO was started to be developed at the ESA/RSSD Meteor Research Group. It will focus in particular on storing meteor orbits determined by video observations, including an update of the video meteor database.


[1] Koschny, D., Mc Auliffe, J. (2007). "The IMO Video Meteor Database (VMDb) - A First Definition". In: Mc Auliffe, J., Koschny, D. (eds.) Proceedings of the First Europlanet Workshop on Meteor Orbit Determination, Roden, The Netherlands, 11-13 September 2006. 

[2] Barentsen, G. (2007), "The Unified Meteor Database: A Generic Archiving Project for Meteor Data". In: Mc Auliffe, J., Koschny, D. (eds.) Proceedings of the First Europlanet Workshop on Meteor Orbit Determination, Roden, The Netherlands, 11-13 September 2006.


Web site created around 2010, updated links 09 Aug 2016 and text 25 Feb 2018.