The luminous trail, observed in particular in the skies of Occitania, was a “bolide”, a phenomenon known for its intensity.

It was on social networks, around 6 p.m., that testimonies began to flow this Monday evening, as reported by La Dépêche du Midi. On Twitter, several people say they have observed a meteorite, or even a fireball. “I am the only one who has just seen a fireball in the sky in #Toulouse ???”, asks a Twitter user, when another swears to have seen “two meteorites”.

A “racing car”

A phenomenon confirmed by Vigie-Ciel, a “participatory science project carried by the National Museum of Natural History”, which aims to “observe meteors, search for meteorites in the field, identify impact craters” .

On Monday evening, the project’s Facebook page supported the first testimonies that appeared on Twitter. A “bolide” has crossed the French sky.

“Another very nice racing car observed from a large part of the South West of France this evening (December 13), at 6:06 pm, like a foretaste of Geminides! It was recorded by 6 Fripon cameras and more than 150 witnesses. If you too have observed it, do not hesitate to testify: http://vigie-ciel.imo.net/ “, writes on his Facebook page Vigie-Ciel.

According to the Paris Observatory, attached to the University of Paris Sciences et Lettres, a meteor is a “meteor of very high luminous intensity, brighter than Venus, the brightest of the planets”. It can measure “from a few centimeters to several meters” and “is distinguished from” the meteorite “, which designates the pebble coming from space having touched the earth’s soil”.

Particularly observed in Occitania, Monday night’s racing car was also seen in Ardèche, but also in Franche-Comté, as reported on the Facebook page “Météo Franc-comtoise”.

Rain of falling stars

This phenomenon that many French people have observed occurs in the context of the Geminids, a “meteoric rain” occurring from December 4 to 17. Still according to the Paris Observatory, these “rains” are a “phenomenon caused by the encounter of the Earth with a cloud of debris resulting from a collision between two asteroids, or from a comet”.

The Geminids are part of the three meteoric showers that mark the year, with the Quadrantids in January, and the Perseids in August, the episode best known to the general public.

But according to Vigie-Ciel, the Geminids constitute “the most active and the most regular of the meteor showers, associated with the cloud of dust suddenly released by the inactive comet (3200) Phaeton”. Other light phenomena should therefore be observable in the coming days.