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Red de Bólidos y Meteoros del Suroeste de Europa


Southwestern Europe Meteor Network





The purpose of the Southwestern Europe Meteor Network (SWEMN) is the study of the Earth-Moon meteoritic environment. For this purpose, this network employs different techniques to analyze the interaction of meteoroids with these two celestial bodies. The behaviour of meteoroids interacting with the Earth's atmosphere is analyzed in the framework of the S.M.A.R.T. project (Spectroscopy of Meteoroids in the Atmosphere by means of Robotic Technologies). The collisions of meteoroids with the Moon are studied in the framework of the M.I.D.A.S. project (Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System). These are complementary projects, and there exists a strong synergy between both of them.


The main aims of the SMART project are the following ones:


1. To detect meteoroids (fragments of rock, ice, and metal) that hit the Earth's atmosphere, in order to determine their atmospheric trajectory, their orbit in the Solar System, and the parent bodies of these particles of interplanetary matter.


2. To determine the chemical composition and physical parameters of these meteoroids.


3. To obtain information about how the chemical species in meteoroids are diffused in the atmosphere.


4. If these objects survive their entry in the atmosphere and reach the ground as meteorites, to recover thos meteorites in order to analyze them.


5. To locate at different places in the Iberian Peninsula the detection systems necessary to study the interaction of meteorois with the atmosphere, and the meteors these meteoroids generate.


6. To automate the different systems employed for meteor detection and analysis.



Nowadays SWEMN has over 90 meteor detection devices placed at different locations in Spain. Each meteor-observing station operated in the framework of the SMART project monitors the atmosphere within a radius of almost 800 km. This project was started by Doctor José María Madiedo, and its first systems started operation in 2006. Thus, Dr. Madiedo was the pioneer in Spain in the design and deployment of automated meteor stations based on CCD video devices. Shortly after that, the same technique and systems were adopted by other researchers in the country, who initially operated non-automated systems. The SMART project is currently participated by institutions such as the Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory (CAHA), the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, the Astrohita Foundation, and the Public University of Navarra (UPNA).



In relation to the MIDAS project, its main aims are:

1. To develop an automated system to detect the collision of meteoroids with the lunar surface. This system is based on several telescopes employing high-sensitivity imaging systems.

2. To monitor with these telescopes the nocturnal side of the Moon in order to detect these impacts.

3. To determine the value of key parameters employed by impact models: luminous efficiency, mass distribution of meteoroids that hit the Moon, flux of materials impacting the lunar ground, impact plumes temperature, etc.

4. To coordinate these observations with the results obtained by the systems employed to monitor meteor activity in our atmosphere.

These results are of a paramount importance to improve our knowledge about the flux of interplanetary matter impacting the Earth.



Most of the systems operating in the framework of the SMART project and some of the devices operated by MIDAS have been self-funded by Dr. Madiedo. In addition, projects conducted by SWEMN have been also funded by the following institutions: