Equipment - Software

UK Meteor Network relies on a suite of UFO Capture software pack developed by SonotaCo in Japan

UFO meteor capture software

UKMON relies on a suite of software developed by SonotaCo in Japan. There are three programmes in the SonotaCo UFO suite:

  • UFOCapture, a motion detection program that scans the video stream for moving objects and an object is detected, UFOCapture writes a short AVI sequence to a computer hard disk.
  • UFOAnalyser, which processes the AVI files and determines the type of event that was recorded, performs photometric and astrometric analysis to determine meteor properties and, if applicable, associates the meteor with a shower.
  • UFOOrbit, which allows performs multi-station analysis and calculates precise trajectories and orbits.

UFO Capture is highly configurable and provides a number of parameters that will enable discrimination of events to reduce false positives caused by aircraft, wildlife and satellites.

UFOOrbit delivers high quality data by performing rigorous consistency and data quality checks to ensure that with insufficient accuracy or inappropriate pairing conditions are rejected

The UFO suite is used by the SonotaCo Network, which has been operational since 2004 and is the currently largest existing video meteor network.

Why Sonotaco?

Existing meteor networks around the world are generally based on either the SonotaCo UFO suite or Metrec.  The UKMON network is based on the SonotaCo suite for a number of reasons, but in particular:

  • SonotaCo is used by many other stations across Europe and therefore gives the UKMON community best opportunity to share data with other European networks.

Note that Metrec, which is an excellent solution and is used by the International Meteor Organisation’s monitoring network, is designed to work with a specific make and model of video decoder that is no longer in production and which can be difficult to source.

Downloading the Software

The SonotaCo software can be downloaded from the SonotaCo website.


UFO Capture requires a licence which is priced in Yen, but at current exchange rates is approximately £125.  For personal use, a licence is needed per person. For group use, licence is needed per computer.

The use of UFO Analyszer and UFO Orbit is free to individual researchers.

UFO Orbit is also available as a 30 day free trial.

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