What are Electro-Optical Observations?
Electro-optical systems are devices which amplify ambient light many times to make faint sources detectable. They are often called nightvision or starlight devices as the systems often make use of ambient starlight to make night scenes detectable to the human eye. The image intensifiers used by the Western meteor group include second and third generation image intensifiers lens coupled to various CCD cameras. The components used to amplify light in an image intensifier are shown below (from Hawkes, 2002):
The microchannel plate (MCP) consists of tubes which channel the photoeletrons to the output phosphor on the back of the intensifer tube. Design and principles of operation of typical intensified CCD cameras (ICCDs) can be found here. We have several different types of portable and permanent intensifier - camera combinations used for different observational meteor projects.