• Open Access

The 2009–2010 MU radar head echo observation programme for sporadic and shower meteors: radiant densities and diurnal rates


E-mail: kero@johankero.se (JK); csilla@csilla.se (CS)


The aim of this paper is to give an overview of the monthly meteor head echo observations (528.8 h) conducted between 2009 June and 2010 December using the Shigaraki Middle and Upper atmosphere radar in Japan (34°.85 N, 136°.10 E). We present diurnal detection rates and radiant density plots from 18 separate observational campaigns, each lasting for at least one diurnal cycle. Our data comprise more than 106 000 meteors. All six recognized apparent sporadic meteor sources are discernable and their average orbital distributions are presented in terms of geocentric velocity, semimajor axis, inclination and eccentricity. The north and south apex have radiant densities an order of magnitude higher than other apparent source regions. The diurnal detection rates show clear seasonal dependence. The main cause of the seasonal variation is the tilt of the Earth's axis, causing the elevation of the Earth's apex above the local horizon to change as the Earth revolves around the Sun. Yet, the meteor rate variation is not symmetric with respect to the equinoxes. When comparing the radiant density at different times of the year, and thus at different solar longitudes along the Earth's orbit, we have found that the north and south apex source regions fluctuate in strength.