Equipment - Software

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

UFO meteor capture software

Sonotaco Data Acquisition Software

UKMON is based on the SonotaCo UFO data capture and analysis suite.

SonotaCo was selected because it is used by meteor networks across Europe and compatibility with these networks gives the UKMON community best opportunity for collaboration.

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

There are other networks which are based on different software, some examples of which are listed below:

  • CAMS (Cameras for All Sky Meteor Surveillance), an IMO
  • Metrec (Meteor Recogniser), similar to SonotaCo UFO Capture but runs on specific video capture hardware
  • SCAMP (System for the Capture of Asteroid and Meteor Paths), a UK project based on the French “FRIPON” system

Some of these networks have slightly different objectives. For example, the aim of SCAMP and FRIPON is meteorite recovery.

Note that SCAMP operates under the UKMON umbrella.

The SonotaCo suite

There are three programmes in the SonotaCo UFO suite which, together, form a data acquisition and analysis data pipeline:

  • 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 meteor trajectories and meteoroid orbits

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

UFO Capture is fully automated and highly configurable. It provides a number of parameters that will provide a degree of discrimination to reduce false positives caused by aircraft, wildlife and satellites.

Downloading the Software

The SonotaCo software can be downloaded from the SonotaCo website .


UFO Capture is the only software component that you have to pay for. UFO Analyser and UFO Orbit are free to individual researchers. UFO Capture is also available as a 30 day free trial.

The UFO Capture licence is priced in Yen which (at the time of writing) is approximately £125. For personal use, a licence is needed per person. For group use, licence is needed per computer.

Configuring UFO Capture

Correct and reliable operation of UFO Capture requires the software to be configured correctly. To help with this we have published a configuration guide.