The Meteor Section

The Meteor Section of the Royal Netherlands Association for Meteorology and Astronomy (KNVWS) is an association for people who are interested in meteors and meteorites.

Our association aims to advance meteor astronomy and increase the popular scientific dissemination of meteor astronomy for the general public. We try to meet this aim by:

  • Organising meetings, such as an annual meteor day, excursions and observation campaigns;
  • Stimulating observation of meteors by our members;
  • Cooperating with similar associations within and outside The Netherlands.

The Meteor Section is managed by a board of five and the section comprises of about fifty members, with several hundreds of followers on its social media.

What we do

Our members are involved in seven different thematic areas: photography, visual observation, radio observation, bolides, all-sky observations, data acquisition & computation and meteorite recovery & meteoritics.

The Meteorite Documentation Centre (MDC) is also part of the Meteor Section and supports the assessment and identification of putative meteorite finds by the public, in addition to curating background information on meteorites. The MDC was instrumental in the discovery of the 6th meteorite ever to be found in the Netherlands; the ‘Broek in Waterland’.

The Meteor Section actively uses social media and publishes online content on its website to report on its activities, observations and all things related to meteors and meteorites. During the annual ‘meteor day of the lowlands’ our members and other interested people meet to share experiences, observations and discuss new activities. The association further supports the organisation of excursions and observation campaigns both inside and outside The Netherlands. These activities have placed us at the forefront of Dutch meteor astronomy for more than 70 year.

International outlook

The Meteor Section collaborates with its local counterparts such as the Dutch Meteor Society (DMS) and the meteor section of the Belgian Association for Astronomy (VVS), while internationally it collaborates with the International Meteor Organisation (IMO). As part of this international outlook on meteor observations, the Meteor Section has continuously invested itself in organizing international events, such as the International Meteor Conferences (IMC’s) of the International Meteor Organisation (IMO). Since the 1980’s the Meteor Section and the International Meteor Organization have organized four International Meteor Conferences in The Netherlands.

The early beginnings

Dutch amateur astronomy has a long tradition in meteor observations. Meteor astronomy in The Netherlands truly began the 1860’s, similar to other countries. The spectacular Leonid storms of 1833 and the storms in 1866-1868 have had a major effect on the interest for the scientific study of meteors. In 1943, during World War II, the Astroclub was established and counts as the predecessor of the present-day Meteor Section. The club of meteor observers comprised brothers, friends, mathematics teachers and other amateur observers. It grew steadily in 1943-1944 to a group size of 35 members and set up a national network of meteor observers which organised observing campaigns. Members of the Astroclub edited the monthly magazine ‘De Meteoor’, which in 1946 would become the section’s main astronomical magazine. Observers published their reports and results of their observations in ‘De Meteoor’ and in the monthly magazine of the Royal Netherlands Association for Meteorology and Astronomy (‘Hemel en Dampkring’ and later in ‘Zenit’). After WWII, in August 1946, the present-day Meteor Section was formally founded as a chapter of the Royal Netherlands Association for Meteorology and Astronomy (KNVWS).

Awards for members of the Meteor Section

In recognition of their contribution to the field of meteor astronomy, several members of the Meteor Section have been laureated for their efforts in the advancement of the field of meteor astronomy in The Netherlands. The most notable award is bestowed by the Royal Netherlands Association for Meteorology and Astronomy (KNVWS). This prized award among amateur astronomers – named after the Dutch astronomer Dr Jan van der Bilt (1876-1962) – was established in 1944 to honor amateurs who either contributed significantly to the popularization of astronomy, or as an amateur contributed to astronomy at a professional level. These awards attest to the passion, dedication and the level of quality that our members invest into advancing meteor astronomy as a hobby and as a science.

Contact us

If you want to contact us, please do so. Visit our contact webpage to find the most up to date contact information.