ROUTE DU RHUM 2022

21’597
7’676
21’752
7’601
45’162
19’057
47’165
19’293
23’514
7’008
9’052
2’931
3’254
1’844
12’959
2’094
61’677
2’954
5’463
559
11’433
1’019
10’243
1’926
27’200
14’965
68’166

Ran aground for cca 20 minutes and fell to place 180k+

77’349
40’888
98’475
34’342
< 15 hours before start –
BOAT

< 1minute before start – CATAMARAN

ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY – Jupiter

Jupiter around opposition, sporting a whopping 50 arcsec diameter and shining bright at mag -2.9. Three of the four galilean satellites are visible.

Below, the apparent movement of Io over about half an hour: from directly in front of the planet (south-eastern limb) to outside the diameter, on the lower right.

BUG HOTEL – Cocoon harvest

The bug hotel opened in the spring of 2017, offering superior accommodation and personalized services in eight spacious yet cozy 9mm by 90mm holes drilled in healthy, un-treated, pinewood that’s easy to chew through should guests wish to make modifications to the otherwise comfortable cylinders.

The particularity of this property is that one of the outer walls has been replaced by crystal-clear 6mm glass that offers spectacular views. Privacy is ensured by a hinged flap that swiftly closes when so desired.

The official designation of the property is CB-890, because you can see the bee in all 8 rooms that measure 90mm in length.

It lies just outside my window, by some flower pots next to the wall (SE) It was populated every year, starting in early spring, with the holes sealed by May. The highest number of holes occupied must have been 5 or 6. Last year (2021) was the lowest so far with only 3 taken.

The tenants are solitary bees of various species, and there are, of course, various parasites that treacherously prey on their larvae.

This pretty cigar-looking structure is made by the leaf-cutter bee:

These are made by what I believe to be mason bees:

A whole row of cocoons has been killed by the larvae of the Carpet Beetle. They manage to break the cocoon, get inside and feed on the larva.

The life cycle is as follows: there is frenetic activity in early spring, when females find (or make) a hole in a vertical structure, usually wood, and fill it up with several mounds of pollen. The bee then lays an egg on each mound, separates them with little walls of mud and seals the entrance. The egg becomes a larva that feeds on the pollen and builds a cocoon in which the bee eventually develops. The following spring it chews through the cocoon, breaks the mud wall and flies out.

Females are about half the size of males and the smaller cocoons are always closest to the entrance, as females hatch first. The larger cocoons are the males that hatch last. A dead female near the front can mean the dearth of all cocoons, as sometimes the newly hatched bee does not have the strength to chew through several separations.

ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY – The Sun

Sunspots AR2936, AR2937 and friends, the first being amongst the largest of young solar cycle 25 and which hurled a coronal mass ejection towards Earth in the early hours of January 30th, bound to reach us February 1st or 2nd.

AR2936 has multiple dark cores larger than Earth, and the entire group stretches more than 100,000 km across the surface of the sun. That’s about 8 Earths one next to each other, or a little less than a quarter of the way to the Moon (which is 30 earths away, roughly).

Beautiful footage from SOHO showing the CME that is expected spark auroras at mid-Northern latitudes: