Twitter strikes again! This time, it was in the form of a serendipitous tweet from AstroFarm, suggesting a.. different kind of Christmas…
So Yes: we’ll be heading to Confolens , south of France, for 3 full nights of magic – just after winter solstice.
We won’t be spotting Santa & his reindeers up in the skies (though you never know..)
But with a bit of luck and clear skies, we’ll spot a few of those Ursids twinkling in the night sky.
Why Christmas Time?
Because it’s only fitting, after all. In ancient times, December 17–23th was the date of the Saturnalia Roman festival, a sort of bacchanalian thanksgiving dedicated to the god of agriculture.
Saturnalia was celebrated on the date of the winter solstice and it also marked the point when the day would get longer each day, warming Earth and waking up the world. This one was an interesting event because it also meant masters and slaves swapped clothes, gifts were exchanged and the wealthy were expected to pay the rent for those who couldn’t afford it.
So I guess you could say that the Romans invented Christmas.
While the rest of Europe will crowd around Christmas markets, we will be spending a very homely, intimate & unique Starry Christmas.
Oh and also: we’ll be in the cuddly company of AstroFarm’s seven astro-cats & dogs.
The clear winter skies are due to the cold temperature that prevents the air from retaining moisture – which means less haze and greater transparency.
Also, the stars you get to see in wintertime are brighter than those of summertime – actually they’re among the shiniest covering the Milky Way.
The downside? Cold AF! (but we obviously don’t care about that)
Also, winter stars tend to scintillate more because of strong atmospheric turbulence – so that will have an impact on your astrophoto results.
With Venus shining high well after sunset, much like the Bethlehem star, who needs a Christmas tree anyway? Well, assuming we do get them clear skies; fingers crossed!
The best thing about it? You can be a complete novice and still have your fun at AstroFarm!
Andrew, the resident astronomer will be there to handhold you through the dark, clear skies and daunting complexities of astrophotography.
AstroFarm, here we come!