Data Reduction Pipeline

Data Reduction Pipeline

The DFN produces 100s of terabytes of data per year, which mostly consists of high resolution all-sky images. The rate of data acquisition requires an automated digital pipeline for data reduction.

A wireless link to each Automated Desert Fireball Observatory allows a cross-check for multi station confirmation and enables images to be remotely downloaded.

Software has been created to facilitate the location of fireball trajectories in pixel coordinates.

These are converted to celestial coordinates, to a minute of arc precision, by using a powerful astrometric calibration tool created to automatically identify surrounding stars, and use them as a referencing system. The different observation angles are triangulated using a modified least squares minimisation approach, which now includes weightings based on image quality to produce the full observed trajectory.

A shutter system within the lens of each observatory encodes a unique non-repeating de Brujin sequence into each fireball. This provides accurate, absolute timing information for the duration of the trajectory to 0.4 ms. Purpose written software uses entry parameters to determine orbits for each meteoroid. In order to determine if there will be a potential meteorite, the estimation of the changing meteoroid mass is modeled.

Once ablation stops, the atmospheric winds strongly affect a meteoroid’s path to the ground. The dark flight trajectory of a meteoroid is significantly affected by the atmospheric winds, especially by the jet stream. As a result, the meteorite fall position can be shifted by up to several kilometers compared to a scenario with no winds.Data from the Global Forecasting System is used in an atmospheric wind model with a 0.008 degree resolution mesh uniquely created around the area of the fireball.

A Monte Carlo dark flight simulation is performed to determine a likely search area for main mass and fragments.


Hadrien Devillepoix
Science Lead,
Ellie Sansom
Project Manager,
Trent Jansen-Sturgeon
Trent Jansen-Sturgeon
currently of: Lockheed Martin Australia
Martin Towner
DFN Operations Manager
Martin Cupák
GFO Operations,
Software Engineer