French skies and meteorites

Posted by XTSee on 9th August , 2008

I’ve been on holiday in France for a 2 week break. I took a small pair of binoculars (10×25) for some casual astronomy viewing of the night sky down near the Med. We went to a campsite at Canet-en-Rousillon, near Perpignan. While we had a fantastic hot holiday, the night sky was frankly quite terrible. I think this was due to us being pretty close to sea-level, and the heat resulting in humid conditions, so that even though most nights were clear and the stars were out, it was very poor transparency, with only the brightest being visible.

The first day of our holiday was my birthday, and for that my wife had bought me a new pair of giant 20×80 binoculars. Unfortunately they had not been delivered in time for the vacation, which was a little disappointing. Never mind.

One thing worthy of mention was a large meteorite that shot overhead on the Sunday night (27/08/2008). It was very bright, and crossed about 100 degrees of sky in about 1 second, and actually broke up in a final shower of pieces as it died. As with most meteorites it was over incredibly quickly, but the breakup made it quite spectacular.

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