A Mathematical Model for Simulating Meteor Showers
ABSTRACT This paper presents a mathematical model to simulate the trajectory of a meteor as seen by a single observer located anywhere on Earth. Our strategy is to define a new coordinate system, called Radiant Coordinate System, which is centered on the observer and has its z-axis aligned with the radiant. This new coordinate system allows us to describe the meteors’ path by applying a reduced number of equations in a simple solution. We also present a computational implementation of this model, which is developed as a new plug-in of Stellarium, a free and open-source planetarium software. Moreover, we show that our model can be used to simulate both meteor showers and sporadic meteors. In particular, meteor showers are simulated using data provided by real catalogs.