Open Access

Fig. 1


Distribution of observed meteorite falls in France. In nineteenth century France, 45 meteorites were recovered after their fall was observed, a number that fell by a factor of 5 in the twentieth century. Even in the nineteenth century, witnessed falls were not randomly distributed. They were mostly located in the great river plains (Seine and Loire in the northwest, Garonne in the southwest, and Rhône valley in the southeast). In these regions, the population was denser, the view is free of obstacles (such as mountains), and the skies are often clear. The striking difference between the two centuries illustrates the need for distributed observers for meteorite recovery. Rural populations have declined because of urbanization in the twentieth century. A camera network such as FRIPON can monitor atmospheric entries and take over that role that was previously played by human observers. However, trained human eyes are still required to recover the meteorites; this is the aim of the Vigie-Ciel citizen science program (Colas et al. 2015).

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