Submillisecond fireball timing using de Bruijn timecodes.

Howie, R. M., Paxman, J., Bland, P. A., Towner, M. C., Sansom, E. K. and Devillepoix, H. A. R.

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
Available online 16 May 2017


“Long-exposure fireball photographs have been used to systematically record meteoroid trajectories, calculate heliocentric orbits, and determine meteorite fall positions since the mid-20th century. Periodic shuttering is used to determine meteoroid velocity, but up until this point, a separate method of precisely determining the arrival time of a meteoroid was required. We show it is possible to encode precise arrival times directly into the meteor image by driving the periodic shutter according to a particular pattern—a de Bruijn sequence—and eliminate the need for a separate subsystem to record absolute fireball timing. The Desert Fireball Network has implemented this approach using a microcontroller driven electro-optic shutter synchronized with GNSS UTC time to create small, simple, and cost-effective high-precision fireball observatories with submillisecond timing accuracy.”