This astronomer at the Côte d’Azur laboratory is popularizing space on social networks

Star, telescope, galaxy… Niçois Éric Lagadec makes concepts that seem remotely accessible to more than 85,000 subscribers who follow his explanations every day.

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The head in the stars, or rather the head in the dust of the stars, the specialty of this assistant astronomer at the Côte d’Azur Observatory, at the university of the same name.

An astrophysicist, he is also president of the French Society for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Éric Lagadec studies the death of stars after 8 years of thesis and 8 years of post-doc abroad. For me, it’s a job like any other. If we take the time to learn, it should be available to everyone“.

Make it available, this applies to the astrophysicist through publications on the social network Twitter in particular. “There is a small community, we are almost 90,000. I receive tens of thousands, hundreds, thousands of messages, but I can’t answer them all.“.

The astronomer comments for France 3 Côte d’Azur on a video from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Éric Lagadec explains to us that it allows us to better understand how stars form:

Here we see the Milky Way, our galaxy. We’re going to zoom 160,000 light years towards a galaxy, it’s millions of stars, it’s called the Large Magellanic Cloud. And if you look here, there’s a pretty bright spot where stars are forming. This is the Tarantula Mist.

(…) In the center there is a star cluster called R136, where the most massive stars in the universe are located. We have stars that are 200, 250 times the mass of the Sun. As observed in the infrared before these stars were obscured, they are now appearing“.

Eric Lagadec realizes how lucky he is to have learned all this and for him, and it’s important to pass it on.

The astrophysicist wants to give his subscribers the opportunity to expand their horizons, almost sending them into space: “Our society lives in an anxiety-inducing climate. When you look at the information there is a lot things that can be scary, and I think people need to escape, so I think the popularization of astronomy, showing images of the sky, gives this opportunity to escape“.

According to him, astronomy makes it possible to better understand the world from a scientific point of view.

“We live in a society that faces scientific challenges: climate change, energy transition. We can understand better when we understand the sciences”.

Éric Lagadec, Assistant Astronomer at the Côte d’Azur Observatory

Éric Lagadec wants to be accessible to everyone. “Jspent a lot of time trying to find the best way to explain things. To make it look easy, you have to spend time doing it.

I like the analogy: if we take a musician, we will see a virtuoso and we will say that he has talent. In fact, if you spend a lot of time working, it becomes simple” he explains.

After Covid gives wishes elsewhere. The astrophysicist saw his subscriber count explode in record time.

A year ago we were at 2500 and now every month there are tens of thousands of people who see the tweets I can send. So I hope that we keep learning more and, above all, that we keep learning together.” He points out that there is also a lot of interaction between his subscribers who write to him so often.

It’s nice to receive messages almost every day that say: JI never thought I would understand anything in astrophysics. I want to buy a telescope, books for my children »More than receiving, it is the desire to transmit that made Éric Lagadec pick up his keyboard, and this desire extends for him to infinite space.

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