experience the Night of the Stars everywhere in France from August 5 to 7

The 31st edition of Nuit des étoiles will be held from Friday 5 August to Sunday 7 August 2022. This will be the perfect opportunity to aim through the summer night sky. Since 1991, the Association Française d’Astronomie (AFA) has organized these three free observation evenings throughout France, open to everyone. This unique immersion must be experienced alone, with friends or family accompanied by amateur astronomers.

What to observe during the Night of the Stars?

During this weekend of astronomical celebration, the Sun will disappear around 9.30 p.m. throughout the metropolis. A myriad of cosmic objects will then appear to view. That Moon, planets, galaxies, nebulae, shooting stars and constellations will be on the program. To find out the meeting places close to your home, you can consult the map of associative astronomy structures. The event will naturally take place most of the time on isolated highlands, to protect against light pollution.

Selected: the asterism of summer trianglecomposed of three of the brightest stars in August’s cosmic panorama, Altaïr, Vega and Deneb, will enthrone each night at the zenith, unmistakable to your gaze.

Credit: Pixsooz/iStock

From the first part of the evening

The Perseids, these meteors from comet Switf-Tutle, light up summer evenings every year between July 20 and August 25. Their peak intensity will occur on August 12, with an average of a hundred objects (from the size of a grain of dust to the size of a pea) per hour. Thus they will cheerfully adorn the firmament of the Starry Night.

The moon will unveil its first quarter on Friday night. You will then be able to distinguish its ocean and craters through a telescope or astronomical telescope as if you were on their surface. Subsequently, the natural satellite will fade behind the horizon at midnight, allowing for better light observation conditions in the second part of the night.

The planets Saturn, Jupiter and Mars will instead climb timidly over the ridge and end up appearing quite high in the sky in the middle of the evening. It will be an opportunity not to miss seeing Saturn’s famous rings or Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

constellations ursa minor great ursa
The Little Bear and part of the Big Bear, visible all year round from the Northern Hemisphere. Credit: Alxey Pnferov/iStock

Andromeda Galaxy (M31) is between 2.5 and 3 million light years from the Milky Way and will merge with it in a few billion years. Also, it is the most distant object visible to the naked eye. While awaiting this inevitable catastrophe, it would be most regrettable not to spy it out with the many instruments provided. And for an even more accurate rendering, the astrophotographers equipped with their high-resolution camera will reveal breathtaking images taken in real time.

In the second part of the evening

When the moon has set, the inner part of our galaxy will thus be able to expose themselves to us. You can then admire its milky path that stretches from north to south, passing between the stars Altaïr (in the constellation of the Eagle) and Vega (in the constellation of Lyra), like a vastly distant arc of stars.

Uranusthe blue gas giantwill come to greet us from 12.30, accompanied by the Pleiades. These form the open cluster filled with stars of similar age located 444 light-years from Earth in the constellation Taurus. Within this same asterism sits Aldebarana huge orange star 45 times larger than the Sun, where the horned beast’s left eye is depicted.

Uranus has rings, like all the gas giant planets in the solar system. Credit: NASA

Obviously, the list of everything you’ll be able to scrutinize during Starry Night is far from exhaustive, as there will be many stars to consider on those evenings. Astronomy enthusiasts will also be happy to introduce them all to you and to introduce novices and curious space minds to the myths and legends that depict the firmaments.

Start from the ground on a heavenly overview that will delight the eyes of your children, whether you are young or old. See you from 5 to 7 August and good skies to everyone.

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