“We are live from the stars” you will be able to observe what the Acristellar telescope records in real time

2024-03-31 04:40:02

The Grasse private observatory will offer free commented observations of the sky. This time, it will be possible for enthusiasts to observe live what the telescope is pointing at and then to control it.

Scientific popularization is pushed to its peak. The SME Acri-ST, owner of the private Acristellar observatory in Grasse, will soon offer the possibility of attending free live observation of the stars before coming on site to directly manipulate the telescope with a professional.

This is a project that has been taking shape for 2 years and was inaugurated in February. Firstly, Internet users will be able to observe the astrophysicist’s manipulations live on an existing platform (Twitch):

“There will be a small camera pointed at me to be able to interact live and share a screen. The idea is to make the adjustments to the telescope live: focusing, pointing… Then the telescope will take photos and display them live. We can explain, comment and answer questions” explains Anthony Salsi, astrophysicist.

The enthusiast did his thesis at the Nice Côte d’Azur Observatory before being hired by the private company that owns the observatory.

Anthony Salsi is known to enthusiasts, particularly for his publications on social networks under his nickname Astrophilos.

The telescope used in Grasse measures 1.20 meters. Its optical system is based on the so-called “Newton” type. These are mirrors that face each other which allow magnification. Large sizes, they measure 304 mm in diameter.

Despite these dimensions, this telescope is not professional equipment. Usually, telescopes cost up to 1 million euros. This complete installation is worth up to 10,000 euros. A large sum, but accessible for a group or association of enthusiasts for example: “the idea is to show what we can do with general public telescopes. During the inauguration, people came with their own equipment to learn how to master it, it was great!” explains the astrophysicist.

Under the dome, the telescope (with its Newton-type optical system) measures 1 meter 20. • © Aline Metais ftv

A team from France 3 attended the inauguration of the observatory in February 2024. For this free event, the places were taken by storm, nearly 200 people had reserved, sometimes coming from far away (Paris region) with their telescope to observe and be guided in the observation.

The observatory wants to go further by offering slots that will soon be bookable on their website. Concretely, the individual can come to the site for an hour to manipulate the telescope himself, accompanied by the observer. The photos taken during the observation will be inserted into a database accessible to all.

Enthusiasts will be able to have and share their photos of space for free.

Anthony Salsi, astrophysicist

at France 3 Côte d’Azur

Enough to discover a little piece of the galaxy with space professionals.

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These reservation slots are and will remain free. So how and why does the company offer these free observations and how does it plan to be profitable? The adage says: “if it’s free, you’re the product”. But this time, it’s another slogan that the physicist wants to put forward:

It’s free and it always will be

Motto of a major social network cited by Anthony Salsi

at France 3 Côte d’Azur

Anthony Salsi holds a doctorate in astrophysics from the Côte d'Azur Observatory.

Anthony Salsi holds a doctorate in astrophysics from the Côte d’Azur Observatory. • © Anthony Salsi

The company which specializes in satellite earth observation, is known in particular for its collaborative application for observing jellyfish on our beaches. She wants to start observing the universe. The initial idea is to democratize sky observation, raise awareness and encourage vocations. This is the objective of the mission entrusted to astrophysicist Anthony Salsi who set up the private observatory project.

If the initiations for individuals are free, it will be possible to privatize the observatory for one night for example or to request special observations as part of scientific research work. It is on this work for professionals that the company relies.

For the moment, the Riviera astrophysicist plans to carry out the observations alone, up to around fifty slots per month.

He hopes to expand the team if public enthusiasm is there.

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