On my latest astronomy trip to the Sahara in Southern Morocco, I met with many enthusiast people in astronomy. I had a blast doing many activities related to astronomy as Meteorite hunting, astrophotographying the night sky and learning much of astronomy in general at this fabulous hotel/observatory called Sahara Sky. 10 days of meteorite hunting, astronomy learning and stargazing in the Sahara was incredible and just unforgettable. Please join me in a series of posts on my journey through the Sahara in Southern Morocco and one of the most dark skies places I have ever seen.
|Meteorite Expedition (Hafit, Fritz, Hamoud, Stefan and Janne)|
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ KTY Toutatis.
My meteorite hunting actually started 2 months before arriving to the site in Southern Morocco. I had printed papers related to meteorites all over my wall as a reminder of what was to come and a way to study easier, as I saw the papers every day on the wall.
It was a real school and I learned a lot from it. I knew all the categories of meteorite, I had read other meteorite hunter stories, taken all the tips and advice people were writing on the Internet. I also went to my local university to check out a meteorite they had that was found 30 years ago in the region. I also went to the extent of e-mailing a meteorite expert in Finland to have some advice on the subject.
|Info wall @ my home before the trip|
Credit: S. Lamoureux
In our expedition, we were 4 people; Me the expedition leader, Fritz the hotel owner, my pal Janne from Finland and the driver/guide that led us to those ”secret places” he had heard of. We were equipped with GPS devices, magnets, maps and confidence that we would find a rock from space.
The two days off-road traveling with a 4x4 felt like we were at the ends of the World.
The 2 days hunt was separated by one day of rest and regroup at the hotel. That for me was one of the best part of the hunt: the meeting on the dinner table, planing for the second day of hunting for meteorite. Sitting down with all the participants and discussing the next expedition and the places to search from, I really enjoyed that.
|Gear needed for Meteorite hunting|
Credit: S. Lamoureux/KTY Toutatis.
Of course it was a long shot to go find meteorites in that part of the Valley, but it was also nice to connect with history and culture from this part of the world. To learn about this route of many centuries of trading and expanding civilizations across the African continent in itself was an great experience. I was really happy to be allowed to visit the sites and learn more about the trans-Saharan caravan routes of ancient times.
Even though we didn't find meteorites, we learned a lot and we had a ton of fun. The best part was when Fritz at the last night at the dinner table took out a box and said to me to choose a meteorite from a set that he had purchased earlier. I opened the box and I saw after examination that he was testing my knowledge of meteorites with some rocks he had gathered in that box. I said to him, you will not fool me with these ”Earth” rocks! He laughed and took out another smaller box and said: Ok ok! I was testing you to see if you are worthy to have these. He opened the smaller box and showed me meteorite pieces to choose from. I took one that I liked and we drank to that.
|GIF animation of|
Meteorite rock gift from Fritz Koring @ Sahara Sky
Credit: S. Lamoureux/KTY Toutatis.
Please continue reading the next post of my Astronomy trip in the Sahara, Southern Morocco HERE.
Follow the complete travel post series and enjoy the astronomy behind it.
Trans-Saharan trade routes WIKI
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