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

The 31st edition of Nuit des étoiles will take place from Friday, August 5 to Sunday, August 7, 2022. It will be a great opportunity to dive into the summer night sky. Since 1991, the French Astronomical Association (AFA) has organized these three free observing evenings throughout France, open to all. This unique immersion can be experienced alone, with friends or family accompanied by amateur astronomers.

What to watch during the Night of the Stars?

The sun will disappear around this astronomical holiday weekend 21:30 throughout the metropolis. Then there will be many space objects for contemplation. The Moon, planets, galaxies, nebulae, shooting stars and constellations will be in the program. To find meeting places near your home, you can consult the map of associative astronomical structures. Of course, the event will spend most of its time in isolated highlands to protect against light pollution.

Featured: Asterism summer triangleconsisting of the three brightest stars in the August cosmic panorama, Altair, Vega and Deneb, will enthrone each evening at the zenith, unmistakably visible to your gaze.

Credit: Pixsooz/iStock

From the first part of the evening

Perseids, these meteors from Comet Switfa-Tutlia light up the summer evenings from July 20 to August 25 every year. The peak of their intensity will occur on August 12, with an average of up to a hundred objects (the size of a speck of dust to a pea) per hour. So they will cheerfully decorate the starry night sky.

Moon will report its first quarter on Friday night. Then you can distinguish its seas and craters in a telescope or an astronomical telescope, as if you were on their surface. Eventually, the natural satellite will disappear below the horizon at midnight, allowing better viewing conditions during the second part of the night.

Planets Saturn, Jupiter and Mars alternately, it will timidly rise above the ridge line, and at the end of the evening it will appear quite high in the sky. This will be an opportunity not to be missed to see the famous rings of Saturn or the great red spot of Jupiter.

constellation Ursa Minor Ursa Major
Ursa Minor and part of Ursa Major are visible all year round from the Northern Hemisphere. Credit: Oleksiy Pnferov/iStock

Andromeda Galaxy (M31) is at a distance of 2.5 to 3 million light years from the Milky Way and will merge with it in a few billion years. In addition, it is the farthest object visible to the naked eye. While waiting for this inevitable cataclysm, it would be a shame not to spy on it with the arsenal of available tools. And for an even more accurate rendering, astrophotographers equipped with a high-resolution camera will show exciting shots taken in real time.

In the second part of the evening

As soon as the moon set, an inner piece of our Galaxy thus will be able to expose themselves to us. Then you can admire its milky trail stretching from north to south, passing between the stars Altair (in the constellation of the Eagle) and Vega (in the constellation of Lyra), like an extremely distant star arch.

Uranusa blue gas giantwill come to greet us from 12:30, accompanied by Pleiades. They form a scattered cluster filled with stars of the same age, located at a distance of 444 light years from Earth, in the constellation Taurus. In this same asterism is located Aldebarana giant orange star 45 times the size of the Sun that represents the left eye of the horned beast.

Uranus has rings, like all the gas giant planets of the Solar System. Credit: NASA

Obviously, the list of everything that you will be able to consider in detail during the Night of the Stars is far from exhaustive, because on these evenings you will be able to gaze at many stars. Astronomy enthusiasts will also be happy to introduce them all to you, as well as introduce the newbies and inquisitive space minds to the myths and legends of the firmament.

From the ground, go on a celestial tour that will delight the eyes of your children, whether you are young or old. See you from August 5 to 7 and good luck to everyone.

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