On any given night, in British Columbia, an observer will monitor his homemade meteor spectrograph, hoping to catch another rare spectrum of a meteor making its fiery plunge into the atmosphere. In Florida, another observer will operate his radio observatory, using home-brew computerized data acquisition equipment to catch the death cries of asteroidal sand grains and cometary balls of fluff blazing to glory at many miles per second. In California, an intensified meteor camera records the nights activity, and all across the continent, observers armed with only the simplest of equipment — their bare eyes, a good watch, and a tape recorder — will marvel at the beauty of the dark night sky while recording the parameters of each of the 10 or 15 sporadic meteors they see each hour. On a major shower night they may be busy recording a hundred or more meteors per hour! In Puerto Rico, a professional astronomer will use the giant Arecibo radio telescope in a radar mode to explore the world of micrometeoroids, the dust left over from the creation of our solar system — and perhaps other star systems.

Beyond their love of the night sky and meteor science, these diverse individuals have one thing in common: they are all affiliates of the American Meteor Society, Ltd.