Geminids or how to test Calar Alto Observatory skies quality



It is known that Calar Alto Observatory has one of the best skies around the world. But a proof of the clearness of them is the fact that with a simple webcam a fireball from the Geminid meteor shower that happened above the Spanish northern province of Palencia (nearly 600 km away from Calar Alto Observatory) was registered.

The event took place last December 14th 2017 at 4:48 local time (3:48 UT) and was part of the Geminid meteor shower.

Following the analysis carried out by José María Madiedo (University of Huelva), and PI of the SMART Project, this object was a Geminid that impacted our atmosphere at a speed of about 122.400 km/h. The fireball started at an altitude of about 100 km above the Spanish northern province of Palencia and finished at an altitude of about 56 km over Segovia province.

The path over the ground is shown below.


The right figure shows the distance from Calar Alto Observatory and Palencia province (nearly 600 km of distance).

Below the distance can be appreciated within the Spain surface.


This is a real demonstration of the extremely high quality of the skies we can enjoy here.

The next video is taken with the Calar Alto Observatory north surveillance webcam.

Calar Alto (CAHA) fireball detection station, together with the one at the Observatory of Sierra Nevada (IAA-CSIC) and others placed at different locations in Spain, are part of the S.M.A.R.T. project led by Professor José María Madiedo (University of Huelva) to track that kind of objects. Specifically, Calar Alto (CAHA) station and the one at Sierra Nevada (IAA-CSIC) constitute a collaboration agreement between Professor Madiedo and both institutions.