An unusual task of the Leica MD camera in the past five decades (“Feuerkugelnetz” or Fireball Network)

A reader sent me this quick write-up on a little-known task of the Leica MD camera in the past five decades:

“Many Leica fans have no idea what the Leica MDs (the models without rangefinder and viewfinder from the 1960s) had been used for. These days I encountered a nice example. The German, Czech, and Austrian “Feuerkugelnetz” (Fireball Network) has documented many bright meteors in central Europe over the last 50 years. It was a project operated together by scientists and amateur astronomers from the three countries. On each clear night, the sky had been photographed from different stations distributed across the three countries. The cameras were directed down to a spherical mirror lying on the ground. Last year the last of these cameras were decommissioned, some of them were Leica MD cameras that obviously did their job continually over the last five decades at any temperature and humidity!

Here is a corresponding report from a local german newspaper (Badische Neueste Nachrichten) from June, 4th 2022 including a photo that shows the Leica MD.

German Wikipedia about the Feuerkugelnetz

Well, today the task to observe the complete sky is taken over by systems that combine several highly sensitive tv surveillance cameras controlled by a minicomputer. See for example the AllSky7 Fireball
Network Europe.”

Different Leica MD cameras can be found on eBay.

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