“Bring astronomy to as many people as possible”

You can take advantage of the sunny weather over the next few days to go out at night and enjoy Nights of the Stars, events organized by a team of volunteer astronomers. Space exploration is in the spotlight, echoing current events.

This year’s theme is ‘Space Exploration’.

The Night of the Stars was first launched in 1991 by the French Astronomical Association (AFA), which continues to take care of it with selected partners (European Space Agency, CNES, etc.). The 2022 edition will be held from tonight and till Sunday evening. these ” Star Nights are run by a team of volunteer astronomers. They should be over 200 again this year: astronomy clubs, planetariums, associations, tourist offices, town halls…

For this 2022 edition, the central theme is space exploration. A very relevant topic with the Mars rover (ExoMars 2022’s European rover Rosalind Franklin can’t land right now), the upcoming launch of Artemis I, and our exploration of the universe by the James Space Telescope Webb.

Find an event near you

The show is free, accessible to everyone and requires no prior knowledge. Only curiosity is the key. But even better, the sharing of emotions can be accompanied by a story where knowledge is transmitted when, telescope or eye through the telescope, the discovery is guided by an educated observer. “, explains the French Association of Astronomy

According to the European Space Agency, around 500 events are planned and the event is being exported beyond our borders: Belgium, Switzerland and Algeria are joining the party. A map with a search engine by suggested content type, date and location is available here. For example, there are two near La Rochelle.

The celestial sweep including Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus…

AFA describes the program that awaits you. The nocturnal sweep begins around 10 p.m. with the arrival of Saturn and its rings, visible ” Telescope or through a telescope ” At 11:30 p.m., Jupiter joins the party: ” With a telescope or binoculars, you should be able to distinguish several of the four Galilean moons – Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

Mars comes at 1 am and the planet is easily identified by its red color. Finally, Venus – the evening sign – will be desired until 5 am. The moon will also be there: Our natural satellite will light up the night sky near the southwestern horizon during the first part of the night, before setting off around 1 p.m. The program is detailed on this page.

the milky way
Credit: Den-Belitsky/iStock

Starlink takes it for its rank

The French Association of Astronomy also wants to take advantage of this edition” To raise awareness among the general public about the deterioration of night sky quality

This is not only about light pollution, which makes the Milky Way invisible in some regions, for example, about Starlink and also about satellite constellations as a whole: ” In just three years, nearly 2,500 satellites have been placed in low orbit around our planet, drifting across the sky with untimely light trails and reducing the quality of astronomical observations.

A map to find your way, documentary on Arte

Finally, AFA offers a “starry night map” that allows everyone to find their way in the vastness of the sky. It’s hands-on with explanations (below) and, once with dark-adapted eyes, you can go looking for constellations, planets, etc.

They are card night

Several partners of this event offer content for the event. It’s all about art with documentaries on Saturday 20 August from 12:05pm. In particular, one would be which connects the work of Einstein and Hawking and an unpublished documentary that explains the threat asteroids may face to our planet and the efforts of space agencies to better detect them to avoid destructive impacts.

(Re)discovering our solar system

Finally, if you’re interested in the Solar System, as a reminder, we’ve published a long file of all the planets that compose it (Pluto as a bonus), not forgetting the asteroid belt and the Oort Cloud.

  • The Sun: The Central Element and “Catalyst” of Life
  • Mercury: A Mysterious Planet “Without Equal”
  • Venus: A Strange Planet, Earth’s Half-Twin, That “Gone Bad”
  • Earth: tiny dot in the universe, the only planet harboring life… until proven otherwise
  • Mars: Cousin of Earth, object of all desires and imaginations
  • A detour through the asteroid belt and Kirkwood Gap
  • Jupiter: Giant planet with no solid surface, guardian of the solar system
  • Saturn and its rings: The “jewel” of the solar system, amazing in more ways than one
  • Uranus: An unusual ice giant planet in more ways than one, yet still very mysterious
  • Neptune: An ice giant blue like Earth, discovered thanks to calculations
  • Pluto: A fallen planet that “looks like no other”, with a very big heart
  • Dive into the Kuiper Belt, “One of the Largest Structures in Our Solar System”
  • Discovering the Oort Cloud at the “edge” of the Solar System

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