Nicola Rae + UKMON: Meteor Sightings Reframed, 2022
PERIASTRA, APT Gallery, 6 Creekside, Deptford, London SE8 4SA. 3rd - 13th Feb 2022.
Curated by Paul Malone.


The meteor sightings in this installation were recorded by a community of amateur astronomers that form part of the citizen scientist project UK Meteor Observation Network (UKMON). With over 100 cameras networked across the UK running open-source software using Raspberry Pi 4, they engage in collaborative teamwork to triangulate where meteors have fallen as well as the open sharing of data. As they note: 'Amateur astronomers have always made a significant contribution to the field of meteor astronomy from its earliest beginnings through visual observations' (UKMON, 2022).

UKMON's films have been reframed through being back projected onto weathered aluminium portholes salvaged from a WWII concrete minesweeper in Essex, throwing images forwards and backwards within the space. The installation continually shifts focus between porthole screens, allowing the transitory appearances of meteors and fireballs to retain an unpredictability of presence and trajectory.

Investigations into Herschel's 20 foot telescope informed the A frame scaffolding structures erected to support the portholes. William and Caroline Herschel are referenced as amateurs whose obsessive curiosity led to them becoming valued professional astronomers.

For more details about Periastra, click here.