Most meteors that enter the earth's atmosphere actually burn up in the at altitudes of 75 to 110 km. As well as a sometimes visible glowing tail, these meteors leave a trail of ionised particles behind them.
The meteor radars (located at Sheffield, Aberystwyth and Chilton) bounce radio waves off these trails in order to measure the size and direction of the atmospheric winds at these altitudes. The more meteor trails there are, the more accurately the winds can be measured.
one of the largest annual meteor showers, the Perseids, peaks days before the eclipse in 1999. This makes the eclipse an excellent opportunity for the meteor radar to look for gravity waves generated by the passage of the moon's shadow.
For more information, contact Heinz Muller.