Sky Vigil, report meteorites and shooting stars
Do you like to observe the stars? Then the Sky vigil (Vigie-ciel) citizen science program is for you! Report a shooting star, hunt for meteorites or search for their impact craters on Earth...
Why were 10 times more meteorites found in the 19th century than in the 20th? The answer is not that more meteorites fell in the past, but that people have more difficulty identifying them today. Perhaps they observe the sky less than in the past. Yet such objects are unique and of great scientific value. Formed 4.5 billion years ago, they tell us about the first moments of the creation of the Solar System. If you want to help researchers find these rarities, join the Sky vigil participative science program! Your involvement will allow scientists to study them before they are altered. This program offers several ways to participate. Choose your exploration method!
Report falling meteors
Who among us has never made a wish on a shooting star? In fact, this celestial phenomenon has nothing to do with real stars! It occurs when an extra-terrestrial body – in most cases no bigger than a grain of sand – enters the atmosphere. But when the object is larger, causing a more intense light trail, it can form a type of meteor known as a fireball! Most of them are only visible for a few seconds. Meteoroids and fireballs are not to be confused with any phenomenon that lasts over 30 seconds, recurring events or multiple or flashing lights. It is extremely rare for someone to see a fireball (or bolide) in their lifetime, but it can happen!
If you see something bright and fast-moving in the sky, be sure to share this observation with researchers. Just fill in the interactive form that anyone can access, even if you have no prior knowledge of astronomy. Be as accurate as possible, as your data is valuable to the scientific community's knowledge base about meteors and much more.
Calling all volunteers! You can participate in the research work that happens when the FRIPON network detects a meteor impact on earth. The research response is coordinated by the research relay station closest to the point of impact, where you can register to take part. Once you’re a member, you will be trained in the study of extra-terrestrial bodies and craters. Indeed, you need to be trained for this particular type of search, which is supervised by scientists. Once you’ve acquired these new skills, you will be contacted first if a meteorite fall occurs in your local region. You will have the pleasure of inspecting the surrounding area, in the hope of finding fascinating objects that have fallen from the sky!
Eyes and ears for monitoring the sky
Since 2013, the FRIPON (Fireball Recovery and Inter Planetary Observation Network) has been monitoring the sky round the clock, using 100 cameras and radio receivers. The images can then be analysed to detect light events caused by a meteor entering the atmosphere. If the fall occurs in France, Vigie-Ciel (Sky vigil) takes over to organise search campaigns.
Discover impact craters
Since the beginning of the 20th century nearly 200 of these structures have been found on our planet, but there are many still to be discovered, both on the earth’s surface and below it. While many researchers and amateurs have identified potential impact craters, considerable fieldwork remains to be done. That’s where science needs you! Vigie-Cratère (Crater vigil) invites you to analyse topographic data of the Earth that may reveal circular depressions, which are the potential scars left by meteorite falls. You will be able to vote on the nature of these structures, discuss the preliminary results and even submit photos of the landscape or rocks involved, if you can get there or live nearby.