The Leonids of Santa Maria de les Escales

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Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
20 November 2023 Monday 03:57
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The Leonids of Santa Maria de les Escales

* The author is part of the community of readers of La Vanguardia

The hermitage of Santa Maria de Vilanova or de les Escales, in Osona, has been one of the ideal settings to witness the Leonid shooting star shower, as seen in Las Fotos de los Lectores de La Vanguardia.

The Leonid meteors are fragments of comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1865, and has an orbital period of 33.2 years.

Like every year, between November 6 and 30, the Earth passes through a ring populated with the fragments detached from comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle in previous passes near the Sun.

When one of these fragments (or meteoroids) comes into contact with the Earth's atmosphere, it vaporizes due to friction with the air, thus creating the luminous glow that we know as a meteor or shooting star.

In the northwest of Sant Martí Sescorts, near the Coromines farmhouse, we find the hermitage of Santa Maria de Vilanova or les Escales. Its architectural typology characterizes it as a construction of the 16th century, with lines between late Gothic and Renaissance.

It was expanded in 1909 with the construction of the Santísimo chapel. It served as a parish from the 17th century until the rectory next door burned down in 1936, leaving it without worship.

In another snapshot we see the impressive Leonid shower of shooting stars in the Puig-agut sanctuary, in Manlleu, also in Osona.

This is circumpolar or startrail photography, which uses long exposure times to capture the apparent movement of stars in the night sky due to the Earth's rotation.

The Puig-agut sanctuary was the first temple of its kind in Spain to be dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Its construction was promoted at the end of the 19th century by Ramón Madirolas y Codina, an innovative farmer who promoted it from the Faro de Puig-agut magazine.

The direction of the work was carried out by the architect August Font y Carreras, who used a neo-Gothic style with some Romanesque and even neoclassical facets, inspired by the French basilica of Tarbes.