The weekend around bonfire night (Guy Fawkes night) is usually bad for observing because the entire world's supply of fireworks - or at least it seems like it - get let off. As well as the fireworks and the smoke from the bonfires there has also been a pretty full Moon so I didn't see much astronomical.

However, I did get to have my own fireworks display tonight on the motorway as a car swerved in front of me sending an impressive fountain of sparks flying up into the air. I was going a little under 70 mph (the speed limit) but I was able to break safely and pull into the hard shoulder (which became a road works layby at that point) so that the car behind didn't go into the back of me! Quickly, along with a few other people who had somehow managed to avoid the swerving car and also stop, we were able to check that the driver was OK and make sure that he got out of his car and off the road. I gave myself the job of waving oncoming traffic out of the inside lane (I was in the hard shoulder to be safer) until the Highways Agency arrived.

It turned out that the poor guy had fallen asleep at the wheel, swerved across two lanes, hit the central barrier and then swerved back across into the inside lane in front of me. He was a bit shaken, but apart from that he was OK; and most definitely awake! I'm pretty impressed that at least three cars and a coach had managed to avoid him and we all survived without a single injury. The only damage was to his car which he isn't going to be driving again by the look of the damage the crash barrier did to it.

Unfortunately it was mostly cloudy, otherwise I might have been able to have a nice look at the sky whilst stood waiting to have my details taken by the police (as a witness!). The section of the motorway that the accident happened on is in the Pennines, and the Highways Agency have put full cut-off covers on all the luminares along that stretch. As well as reducing glare for motorists, it seems to have greatly reduced the amount of light pollution. Well done to the Highways Agency for doing your bit to reduce light pollution.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Monday 06th Nov 2006 (01:19 GMT) | Permalink
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