Yesterday, at 5.50 a.m. ... in Tarn-et-Garonne sky ... a bright trail of light.

Robert Sauby of Albefeuille Largade is not a compulsive liar, Even if, lately, people tend to look up at the sky, recalling the first steps of Armstrong on the moon...and perhaps seeing things that are not there. But we can trust the reports of Robert Sauby, who like other witnesses from Southwestern France, alerted the media. According to Sauby: "it was 5.50 a.m. I was driving towards Castelsarrasin. I was on the Tourron slope when I noticed a fireball... Actually, it was a long white trail preceding a very bright and intense white light. It lasted two or three seconds"...

The Perseids

According to scientists there is an explanation for this phenomenon. At Jolimont Observatory in Toulouse, a member of the astronomy society points out that we are about to enter the Perseids period... also called the "night of shooting stars". This phenomenon is the result of the entrance into the atmosphere of cometary debris that crosses the Earth trajectory every summer in its orbit around the Sun.

Probably a Meteorite

Pic du Midi Observatory astrophysicist, Joël Dolez, agrees, more or less: "it was probably a meteorite or chondrites".
Chondrites are a kind of stone meteorite composed of at least 35% metal. "This phenomenon, which occurs at a height of 20 or 30 km is easily visible from the surface of the globe. You can observe such phenomena every day. These space rocks usually disintegrate when entering the atmosphere." It is unlikely therefore that any fragments would be found on the ground. Concerning yesterday morning's sighting, Mr. Dolez also suggests the less likely possibility that it was an atmospheric phenomenon due to an electrically-charged fireball. Was it a meteorite? Was it an atmospheric phenomenon? Whatever the case, the witnesses were not dreaming yesterday morning; and, if in the coming days you look to the skies, you should see many similar sights.

[Translator's note: Tarn-et-Garonne, Castelsarrasin, Toulouse and Pic du Midi Observatory are located in Southwestern France.]