Thursday, July 20, 2006

The first sprites from Mont Aigoual!

During the night of 19-20 July, the team from Toulouse has done observations from the roof of the meteorological observatory of Mont Aigoual (1567m) in the southern part of the Massif Central (north of Le Vigan). The sky was rather hazy and filled with more or less transparent cirrus clouds, and two storm systems were present, over the area near Orleans in northern France, and over northern Spain. After setting up the camera during sunset, we had to pack it again because of a light rainshower, and after that we set up again and pointed to the NNW. Then Oscar noticed the alarming red "Recording" bar in UFOCapture.... and indeed this was the first sprite, at 2204 UTC!

A second one, again a carrot type, happened at 2218 UTC. Unfortunately the bad seeing prevented from seeing more, at times. Not bad for our first try!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Forecast for July 18-23 (Tue-Sun)

Tomorrow looks very good for observations from Mont Aigoual (ideal position given where the storms should occur (west of Toulouse, north of Pic du Midi, to Bordeaux)
There is no permanent camera there but the group in Toulouse (Serge Soula, Oscar van der Velde, Aglika Savtchenko) will go there with their camera.

Also, the nights after have some chance of nocturnal storms.
An overview of precip by the GFS model:

Tue-Wed night: northern Spain/Biscay (some/good chance)
Wed-Thu night: southwest to northwestern France (very good chance)
Thu-Fri night: northern/central France (some chance)
Fri-Sat night: northwestern half of France (good chance)
Sat-Sun night: eastern half of France (good chance)

The Wed-Thu and Fri-Sat seem the best, associated with the more dynamic systems.

For Pic du Midi, the cases in the western part of France could mean cloudiness to limit the observations, but Mont Aigoual should be better place in that respect.
Olivier detected a problem with the pan-tilt system of the camera on Pic du Midi. We hope to have it solved soon...