Picture: me at the "tropic of Capricorn", Namibia, august 2011.
To the visitors of my website. My knowledge of the English language is not so good. So, there will be some mistakes in the texts I wrote. Apologies in advance. Enjoy reading and watching!
As a child I witnessed the fall of a great fireball somewhere in april 1970 or 1972. I still remember this ball of fire which moved slowly to the western horizon in the evening twilight. At that time I did not know what it was and I was afraid of it... Maybe this is the event that caused my hobby: astronomy and especially observing meteors! In 1975 and further on I did some attempts to see meteors. During the night 9/10 august 1978 I carried out observations with two friends (Robert Haas and Bauke Rispens) on the roof of an almost 100 year old watertower near Harderwijk. We managed to see many Perseïds and even a fireball that night! That night really woke up the meteor bug in me! In 1979 we observed during the Perseïd and Orionid maxima. But after I founded team Delphinus in 1980, we did more serious work and started recording data.
I have good memories of the first Perseid campaigns (1981, 1982, 1983) on the old watertower near Harderwijk, the small scale expeditions to Puimichel in the 1984-1986 era, the Perseid actions at the watertower in 1989 and 1991, de great 1993 Perseid campaign (outburst) in Rognes (Provence, southern France) together with Casper ter Kuile, Robert Haas and Marco Langbroek and the highly succesfull campaigns at Biddinghuizen (1994 Perseids, 1995 Quadrantids, 1995 Perseids, 1995 Orionids, 1996 Lyrids, 1996 Geminids and 1997 Perseids).
After more than 25 years of observing meteors I have an archive with all my observations done since 1980. My archive contains data on more then 65 000 meteors (01-09-2012), hundreds of fireballs , more than 2000 hours of netto observing time and data of 47 special meteor events (outbursts, enhanced activity, rare fireballs etc). Highlights of the past 25 years are the small expeditions I organised to Puimichel, southern France during the eighties, the 1993 Perseid campaign in Southern France (organised by Casper ter Kuile and Carl Johannink), the recent Leonid outbursts and my participation as a member of the successful Leonid expeditions of the Dutch Meteor Society. Recently the SDA expedition to Namibia and seeing the southern nightsky is also a heighlight.
Until 1999 my contribution to the Dutch Meteor Society (DMS) was almost entirely of doing visual meteor observations. In 1999 I got (together with Olga van Mil) the responsibility for the visual database of DMS. This database is during the mid 80's establised by Rudolf Veltman and Peter Jenniskens. In 2001 Olga stopped with her work for the DMS and from then on it was only my responsibility. Even now I fill the database with the latest observations. The database currently contains data from over 350 000 meteors.
I also wrote in that period "call's for observations" for Radiant, the journal of the Dutch Meteor Society. Around 2002 I started doing analyses of meteorshowers with the help of Carl Johannink & Marco Langbroek. Unfortunately, Hans Betlem (founder of the Dutch Meteor Society) decided in early 2003 to stop making Radiant. This resulted in a decrease of the number of active meteorobservers in the Netherlands, Only a small part of DMS observers remained active.
Actually only the visual observers remained active.
In late 2004 a group of DMSers observed the Geminids during a fine campaign on the Kahler Asten mountain near Winterberg. Because there was need for a magazine were we could publish our results, Carl and I decided to create a new magazine for DMS. We called the e-zine eRadiant and is the successor of the paper Radiant.
The first issue of eRadiant came out in the spring of 2005
As a result of the new magazine activities within the DMS were on the rise again. More observers became active again. Not only visually, but also all sky work and video work (CAMS).
In 2008 I won for my huge set of observations and keeping up the DMS database, the Dr.van der Bilt Prize of the Royal Society for Meteorology and Astronomy (KNVWS). That same year, Casper ter Kuile also won the prize for his contributions to the Dutch meteorwork, mainly photographic meteor work.
During that same year my family name was immortalized. An asteroid with the provisional name QX 65 was renamed by the Committee on Small Body Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union into asteroid 132280 Miskotte. That's a great honor for me and it is something I'm very proud of.
Asking me after seeing that much meteors : "Is observing meteors boring"? The answer:"No". First, I love to go out at night, looking at the stars and meteors in a beautiful setting: for example the Groevenbeekse Heide near Ermelo, or sometimes during campaigns, expeditions or vacations from other exotic locations such as Crete, Namibia or China. This is what I like most in this hobby. Internet, computers and high tech equipment it does not really matter to me if I could't observe meteors and the stars... Second, meteors are an unpredictable phenomenon, they appear suddenly out of the blue. Watching a great fireball , a meteor from a rare stream or an unexpected meteor outburst (like the Orionids of 1993) it makes it worth to lie down and observe.
The links right on this page gives you an overview of my visual observations done (sorted by year) since 1978. Each yearpage give you links to the original reports!