The association Astr’Olt, based in Livinhac-le-Haut, invites the general public to observe the night sky.
Claire Henrion is an astronomy facilitator. She originally comes from La Rochelle and has lived in Aveyron since 1990.
Very young, she “tastes the sky” and knows the Pleiades, which are the six stars visible to the naked eye, which “form a small forehead”. She then pursued her passion, and at the age of 25, the discovery of Saturn was a revelation for her. Thus, from the age of 25 to 40, Claire will be interested in astrology and astronomy and celestial mechanics. In 2000 she began distance education (CNED) in astronomy and astrophysics and obtained her diploma in 2002. She then continued her apprenticeship in the field and became a member of the Andromède 4 A association (Association Aveyronnaise d’Astronomie Amateur). She has since participated in regional and national meetings of amateur clubs twice a year.
In 2005, she relaunched the association Rockastres, which appeared in 1993, whose purpose is to “promote art, research and public education in astronomy and astrology and restore a coherent dialogue between these two disciplines. (science and faith) “.
Finally, in 2008, she created the Astr’Olt club based in Livinhac-le-Haut to “make people discover the sky”. The observation of the sky takes place in an area located around Decazeville, Maurs, Marcillac, Montredon and Capdenac therefore in three departments, Aveyron, Lot and Cantal.
A book in writing
For Claire Henrion, “practicing astronomy allows you to get back in touch with nature by finding your bearings such as the seasons, the cycles of the Moon,…”. We forget with our modern lifestyle that “we are on a journey; the earth, the sun, the galaxy is moving… Everything is in motion, nothing is still”.
In 1993, when the Rockastres association was created, she held a popular art gallery in Decazeville with fellow astrologer Gilles Roy. During these years both worked with both astronomy and astrology. Claire Henrion is currently writing a book to present her research.
Many observation evenings
Astr’Olt has about twenty members. Observation evenings have evolved. Loïc Arnaud came to help Claire to meet the many requests for animation. The animation begins with observing the sunset. Claire and Loïc then provide participants with some basic notions of astronomy to help “understand the apparent and real movements of the earth and sky”. Then they set up their instruments, present them and “teach people how to handle them”. The observation phase takes place in two phases. First, it aims to locate the main stars. Then we discover more stars and other celestial bodies: the planets of our galaxy like Saturn and Jupiter, double stars, clusters, various nebulae, …
In special circumstances such as bad weather, the presence of people who have difficulty accessing the frame, it is possible to see on a screen via a computer and a video projector what is shown in the “telescopic eye”.
Variable observations according to the seasons
Observation evenings can take place all year round, weather permitting. However, depending on the season, the observations may vary. We must not forget that “what we observe with the telescope mainly belongs to our galaxy, the Milky Way, which we see best in summer”.
In autumn, we observe the transition from the summer sky to the winter sky. We can better see constellations like Pegasus, but also the Andromeda galaxy.
In winter, we can see the constellation Orion and “we observe the brightest stars in the sky”. In the spring you can try to observe many galaxies, clusters, nebulae, …
Many astronomy enthusiasts, including Claire Henrion, participate in the Messier marathon in late March and early April.
The world event “On the moon again” took place on July 8 in Decazeville to observe the moon.
The association also participated in the Nuit des étoiles on August 5, 6 and 7. And participates on 15 October in the 14th edition of Nattens Dag.
Astr’Olt also organizes other evenings to answer inquiries from individuals, local communities, associations etc.
“I like being under the sky and sharing an authentic, wholesome moment with people, so we reconnect with nature. For me, astronomy puts our feet back on the ground”, concludes Claire Henrion.