by Marie-Francois Plages
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The Night of the Stars, which has been repeated every year since 1991, allows all seasoned amateurs, curious and fans of the celestial vault to familiarize themselves with the cosmos. Big deal when we know that terrestrial humanity knows only a tiny part of the universe.
Fortunately, there are enthusiasts who know how to “popularize” the multiple worlds that make up our galaxy. Also, friendly St. Alauzin, faithful to his appointment, Under the stars, held a day, Sunday 7 August 2022In the company of Gigouzac Astronomy Club and Lecturer Astronomers Christian Legrand A Castelnau-Montratier in batch.
On the programme: 4.30 pm: “Destination Universe” A conference about the “JWST telescope, successor to Hubble” led by Christian Legrand. 6 pm: Food from the bag (aperitif, table and chairs provided by the association). 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Moulin de Bois: Sky observation given by Amical Sainte Alaouzi.
Destination universe with JWST
In 2021, amateur astronomer Christian Legrand proposed a trip to Mars, recalling all the expeditions and discoveries of the red planet. This year, another challenge awaits the audience, from Sunday August 7, at 4:30 pm in the village hall of Sainte Alauzi. In fact, thanks to many shots, in the still undiscovered world, Christian Legrand, offers an extraordinary adventure.
The James Webb Telescope space telescope, which has just taken over from the Hubble Telescope, will give a new dimension to the world of astronomy. Cocorico, because although the telescope was part of the NASA program, the two cameras were designed in Europe and France.
In a very artificial way, it is the most complex space telescope ever built. This is why he was more than 10 years behind schedule and his budget multiplied by 10 “When a telescope is launched into an orbit more than 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, once it is in this space, everything is perfect, no mistakes are allowed” explains Christian Legrand, who will bring this great adventure to life, with many stories and discoveries. .
JWST, more than 2 months old, is already revolutionizing the world of astronomy Very distant galaxies have been photographed “and until now we have never been able to observe them. It’s also the first time we’ve been able to find out what’s in the atmosphere of an exoplanet that orbits another star. “Finding out what’s in the atmosphere of a planet more than a thousand light-years away is incredible,” marvels the astronomer.
JSWT will therefore examine distant galaxies as well as the nearest ones with greater precision, studying exoplanets and the atmospheres of large planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. Christian Legrand, who closely follows all developments and news in astronomy, points out: “In the various conferences that I give, I try to popularize the results of this research as well as bring enthusiasm to take people to this story of the exploration of the universe. Such conferences To do this requires a lot of preparation in advance. For the telescope, for example, I follow everything that has happened since the beginning of the construction of JWST in 2009. Then, you have to categorize the information, the photos, find a common thread “… Christian Legrand, no doubt, has astronomical patience but he won’t do anything to share his passion.
The Gigouzac Astronomy Club will allow visitors to admire thanks to their telescopes, Sunday 7 August, from 9pm at the Moulin de Bois site: Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Milky Way, Nebula, Galaxies, Double Stars, Globular Clusters. And maybe some shooting stars will be noticeable, because the date is not far from the famous Perseids (meteor swarms that create shooting star showers). Christian Legrand will comment on the constellation recognition as well as the objects observed in the telescope at the microphone.
Starlink and space conquest
Elon Musk, the richest man on the planet, businessman with multiple projects (Mars colonization, Tesla cars, Hyperloop…) is in love with science and technology. Since February 2018, he has led his company SpaceX with his “Starlink” project establishing a vast field of space conquest and hyper-connectivity. Starting with the dispatch of 2 prototypes in February 2018, followed by the launch of a group of 60 satellites, spanning 7 missions, from May 2019 to April 2020, Elon Musk’s satellite grid currently has 420 units ready to go. Seva and Elon Musk see the future in a big way, as SpaceX’s Starlink constellation plans to put 12,000 satellites into orbit by 2025 and 42,000 by 2030 if he gets the necessary approvals. In 2022, the Starlink constellation has about 2,000 satellites. Enough to incite greed when you know all the challenges that telecommunications represent in a hyper-connected world.
Some countries are merging. Eutelsat and OneWeb, a European program (source Usain Nouvel dated 07/25/2022) have begun talks to merge to compete with the upcoming Kuiper (3,236 devices) led by Starlink and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. China, for its part, plans to deploy a network of about 13,000 satellites in orbit. But, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the Chinese consider the Starlink constellation dangerous because it supports the Ukrainians (source L’indépendant June 1, 2022). Telecommunications is a really strong geopolitical issue right now. The hunger for space conquest is far from satisfied. Especially since Elon Musk sees more. Thanks to his starship rocket, he plans to establish a permanent base on the moon that will allow him to colonize Mars with a million people. Please note that there will be no return tickets. His argument is “if humanity does not want to disappear, we must establish ourselves on another planet”. Utopia or reality, only time will tell…
Pollution in space
Mankind began conquering space in 1957, and with more than 5,200 launches, more than 7,500 satellites have been placed in orbit. So over time something has become obsolete, a meteorite impact… created countless objects of all kinds: space debris, satellite bodies, fragments, aging materials… According to sources, between 10,000 and 20,000 objects more than 10 cm around the Earth. will rotate So the Starlink constellation and those to come will certainly raise the risk of collisions. With a large fleet of satellites, the risks are more serious.
Christian Legrand explains why these constellation projects no longer allow us to accurately observe the cosmos: “With the naked eye, we can see about 3,000 stars from sunset to sunrise. With objects numbering in the thousands soon, many points must be seen moving at sunset and sunrise and for most of the summer night. “For professional astronomers who photograph the deep sky,” he continues, “such objects would “contaminate” the shots, leaving trails with each satellite pass and no longer allowing the universe to be studied in good conditions”.
In any case, as long as we can still observe the celestial magic, let’s wonder to know our universe better and try to be a little humble in the face of all this cosmic enormity.
* 1 light year = 10,000 billion km.
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