the show has started, how to observe it?

NUITS DES ETOILES – Astronomy enthusiasts will be delighted, since the 30th edition of Nuits des étoiles begins this Friday, August 7, 2020. The Night of the Stars will last all weekend, August 8 and 9. But how to appreciate the spectacle? Where to go ? Find all the information below.

[Mis à jour le 8 août 2020 à 12 heures] The Night of the Stars has started! This year, the long-awaited event for astronomy enthusiasts as well as the curious takes place on August 7, 8 and 9. Thanks to the heatwave and the associated good weather, the sky should be particularly clear, and allow the observation of wonderful stars for three nights. Despite the coronavirus health crisis, 266 events are organized in Douai, Orléans, in the Paris region, in Tours, not far from Bordeaux, Lyon, Montpellier, Marseille or even in Belfort. Discover the entire Nuits des étoiles 2020 program below!

On the occasion of the Night of the Stars 2020, Le Télégramme reports that you will be able to observe five phenomena in particular. Concerning the planets, Saturn and Jupiter will graze the horizon between the south and the southwest in the first part of the night, and it will therefore be possible to observe two very bright points close to each other. As for the shooting stars, you can observe a real rain (about one per minute if it is very dark), especially during the night of August 12 to 13. To do so, you will have to observe the constellation of Perseus to the north and east. Finally, you will be able to observe two constellations: the Ursa Major and Cassiopeia.

What is the program for the Night of the Stars 2020?

The AFA welcomes everyone free of charge in places suitable for observing the sky and the stars, that is to say away from the lights. During a long weekend, all over France, hundreds of events will take place to observe the sky. On your glasses!

  • Next to Paris, at Bourget, the Air and Space Museum invites you for free on Saturday August 8 from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. to observe the stars with a telescope or via astronomical glasses from the tarmac and to attend the screenings and events, with Mars featured in this 30th edition.
  • At Pleumeur-Bodou Planetarium, a commune of Côtes-d’Armor in Brittany, you can come and observe the sky for free on the forecourt on August 7 from 10:30 p.m. to midnight with the Club Astro du Trégor, but also attend two animated sessions at the rate of 4 euros and by reservation on 02 96 15 80 30. One on the theme “Discovery of the night sky” from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. with the visible planets Jupiter with Europa, Saturn and Enceladus, Mars and extrasolar planets, the other on the theme “Mars, a new horizon for the space adventure “from 9.45 p.m. to 11:15 p.m.
  • A Lyon, the CALA (Club d’Astronomie de Lyon Ampère) offers to spend a contemplative evening of the sky on August 7 from 9 p.m. to midnight, with telescopes and glasses, at Parc Roquette in the 9th arrondissement of Lyon, free and open access, hosted by astronomers amateurs of the association.
  • AT Toulouse, the Space City offers an evening under the stars on Friday August 7 from 7 p.m. to midnight. Free entry but on registration, this evening offers to “observe Jupiter and Saturn through screens connected to astronomical glasses and learn to use a sky map and discover the summer constellations”. Numerous activities for young and old are on offer: observations of Jupiter and Saturn at the Astronomer’s Dome, wandering waders, continuous observations of the Sun and the sky from 7 p.m., Planetarium and Stellarium sessions all hours from 7:30 p.m., musical entertainment by the group Jim Bergson and workshops run by Planète Sciences Occitanie.
  • AT Montpellier, Planet Ocean offers entertainment throughout the days from August 7 to 9.
  • Not far from Marseille and D’Aix en Provence, the plateau of Puyricard offers on August 9, from 20:30 to 23:00, a reading of the sky, stars and constellations as well as the observation of the planets and shooting stars of the Perseids with a telescope. And probably beautiful shooting stars of the Perseids. Reservation required on 04 42 20 43 66.
  • At Saint-Joseph college in Lourdes, Saturday August 8 from 8 p.m., the young members of theAstro Club Lourdais offer a lecture every hour, a planetarium session every 15 minutes, a reading of the sky every 30 minutes, observations from Saturn and Jupiter telescopes, and educational and fun activities.
  • Consult the exhaustive map of all the events and observation sites during the Night of the Stars 2020

The Nuits des Etoiles take place over 3 days, Friday 7, Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 August 2020. Since 1991, the Night of the stars has been organized in France, and in several European countries by associations, in particular theFrench Association of Astronomy. It was renowned astrophysicists and scientists, such as Hubert Reeves or Alain Cirou, in association with France 2, who launched the event. More information on the official website of the French Astronomical Association.

A moment to live during the School vacation ! The Night of the Shooting Stars had a unique title when it was created in 1991 since the event only lasted one day. But it has become plural: “Les Nuits des Etoiles”, since the event has been extended to 3 consecutive nights of observation from the year 2000 edition. If the weather forecast is good in several places of observation in France, it allows to observe the planets Jupiter, Mars and Saturn as well as the meteor shower of the Perseids. These stars come from the constellation Perseus. They are found below the constellation called Cassiopeia, in the shape of a W.

To optimize your chances of seeing the stars, it is better to stay away from sources of light pollution such as urban lighting. The stars can be observed from 10 p.m., at nightfall. If the horizon is clear towards the Northwest, where the Sun sets, you won’t miss a thing. Even more so if you have binoculars or a telescope.

Each year the Earth crosses the Perseids. This is a swarm of meteors made up of the debris of an ancient planet: Swift Tutle. Their mass ranges from the head of a pin to that … of a pea! By coming into contact with the earth’s atmosphere, these small rocks offer a magnificent natural spectacle: shooting stars. The Perseid shooting star rain will take place on the night of Wednesday August 12 to Thursday August 13, 2020.

The Perseid Meteor Show. © Pere Sanz – 123RF

The rain of Perseid shooting stars is held this year, on the night of Wednesday 12 to Thursday 13 August 2020. On this exceptional night, a hundred shooting stars will be visible after 10 p.m., at sunset. If this is the peak of activity, the shooting stars will be observable in number in the sky over the period from Friday July 17 to Wednesday August 26, 2020.

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