Meteor Hunter

Using networked cameras, track meteors to discover landing zones and originating orbits.

Similar projects worth following
NOTE: If you're interested in this project, I suggest checking out Fripon's Freeture as well:

This is a project that uses a Raspberry pi, a webcam, some computer vision, and some math to triangulate the trajectories of meteors as they hit the atmosphere.

The camera will capture events using pretty basic computer vision techniques. It will then upload this image to a server along with its geolocation and orientation (and other data such as camera parameters). The server will match simultaneous events and triangulate possible landing spaces as well as entry trajectories.

The primary goal is to find fallen meteors for scientific and hobbyist purposes and to help us understand more about our universe. Also by charting entries we can estimate the orbit of the meteoroid. Small meteoroids tend to serve as early warnings of larger ones as meteors

Here is the current repo:


I love space. I always have. The idea behind space exploration, the driving factor gets me up in the morning. However, space exploration is hard. We can't easily send things up into space to learn more about the universe around us, but sometimes, we can wait for things to come down.

That's the idea behind this project. Find objects entering the earth's atmosphere in order to learn more about our Solar System and its origins. Not only is it valuable to find meteorites after they've landed, but also to find out where they came from. From this we can learn more about the formation of Earth and the Planets. Furthermore, as meteors tend to be chunks of larger asteroids, detecting a meteor can give you a good idea of the larger asteroids orbit.

  • 1 × Raspberry Pi Any computer that can do some minor image processing will work
  • 1 × USB camera Any camera that works with openCV will do. I'm working on more advanced features, but in the meantime even the PiCam will do.
  • 1 × Enclosure I used a coffee can
  • 1 × Power supply 5V 1A USB power supply for the pi/camera

  • Alpha complete!

    Natty Bumppo01/27/2017 at 07:19 0 comments

    After a few months hiatus, I've resumed work. The project is now (essentially) alpha complete. This means that it can detect meteors, save those detections to a server, collect different meteor events, sort them into coincident events, and triangulate their position. Great news!

    Despite there being other software out there capable of doing what I'm setting up here, I've decided to go forward with design.

    There's still lots of work that needs to be done however. Multi frame tracking isn't done (we take an average of all event frames), so we haven't calculated landing trajectories or entry orbits. There's still no proper local server for setup and remote server for processing. Also the config needs to be moved from an .ini file to a sqllite database to facilitate setup and configuration. Also there's very little in the way of false positive management. Nothing to account for airplanes or sattelites.

  • Choosing the camera

    Natty Bumppo07/11/2016 at 03:36 0 comments

    Currently the best camera option I have is the raspberry pi camera. With a long enough exposure I can get actual images of the stars. It's only really sensitive enough for fireball type meteors however which isn't great.

    I've tested with a DSLR, but its considerable overkill and the Pi has trouble processing the large images.

    Facing these issues I searched ebay for an inexpensive low light USB camera and found the AR0130. Unfortunately, this camera is not as good as advertised and the images were of poor quality.

    I think that a standard digital camera may be a good option and I'm going to start hunting through those.

  • Relative Completeness

    Natty Bumppo07/07/2016 at 23:08 0 comments

    I decided to move forward getting the basic system complete. It is now capable of capturing meteor events and storing them to a local database. The local databases can be compiled and parsed by a server side system that detects which meteor events correspond. Basic functionality is as follows:

    1. Get all events

    2. Compile events per user into sequences that are of the same meteor

    3. Compare these sequences between users using time between events to create collections that happened at the same time.

    3. Further reduce collections by calculating the shortest line between two skew lines and if this is less than a threshold, these sequences are of the same meteor

    4. Calcuate shortest lines for all permutations between skew lines for each camera that saw the same meteor. For all of the shortest lines reduce them to a single x,y,z point that lies in the middle.

    5. Average the points together.

    6. That is (approximately) where the meteor is in the sky!

  • Update 2

    Natty Bumppo06/27/2016 at 22:14 0 comments

    Thanks to the user texane, I've been directed to a much more thorough and well built version of what I'm trying to accomplish ( I've sent them some messages with the hope that I can contribute some of what I've done here.

    That being said, I'm still going to try getting all of the pieces working (at the most basic level at least). I'm going to use this as a learning experience with the hope that the techniques I use, while simple, may at least be of use to others.

  • Log Entry #1 - Introduction

    Natty Bumppo06/25/2016 at 00:47 0 comments

    This is a project I've had kicking around for a little while now, but am only recently starting to hit hard. Many of the basic components are already functional. The system will run, detect meteors (as well as any bright flashing light in the sky), and log them to a database.

    All that's needed is a computer and a OpenCV compatible USB camera.

    Next steps for the project are:

    - Gather more data

    - Refine detection algorithms (robustify against clouds, airplanes, moon, etc)

    - Camera calibration

    - Build up triangulation algorithms

    - From here there is calculating landing zones and orbital trajectories

    - Build up server

    - API, frontend, and backend

    -Algorithm for determining location and orientation based on star location and time (see

    - Any other cool things

View all 5 project logs

  • 1
    Step 1

    The first step is to find a suitable computer and camera.

    For the computer, I suggest any cheap computer that is capable of some basic image processing. I'm using an RPi 3 and it is completely sufficient.

    The camera part is a little harder. You need to find a camera that is capable of low light imaging. I have a canon digital camera that I am using for my rig, but I've even had success with the PiCam in low light situations.

  • 2
    Step 2

    Once you have everything hooked up make sure you have python 2.7 installed and OpenCV (here).

  • 3
    Step 3

    Pull the repo from git:

    git clone

    Install pip if you don't have it:

    sudo apt-get install python-pip

    Install numpy and sqlite3

    pip install numpy sqlite3

View all 6 instructions

Enjoy this project?



texane wrote 06/26/2016 at 06:03 point

Hi. I did not investigate much, but they have GITHUB repos here. See freeture:

Also, they have a quite large camera network installed, a local users that help them during hunts ...

Maybe you shoud contact them, and speak about your own project ?  I am interested in the results !


  Are you sure? yes | no

Natty Bumppo wrote 06/26/2016 at 19:45 point

Wow, super solid.  And way better than what I have put together...

  Are you sure? yes | no

texane wrote 06/27/2016 at 05:19 point

They have a whole team of smart guys behind this ... not meaning you are not smart, of course !

  Are you sure? yes | no

texane wrote 06/25/2016 at 07:01 point

Hi, did you know about this project ?

Cheers !

  Are you sure? yes | no

Natty Bumppo wrote 06/26/2016 at 01:31 point

No, that's awesome!  I'll have to get in contact with them to learn more about it.  It doesn't seem to be open source though, perhaps that's the piece this project could help fill.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates