This weekend is the 30th edition of Nuits des Etoiles. This phenomenon allows you to admire the comets that cross our sky every summer. Here’s everything you need to know to enjoy the show.
What are Star Nights?
Since 1991, the French Astronomical Association (AFA) has organized the Nuits des étoiles every summer. Events across France allow the curious to see the shooting stars. Thanks to mild temperatures and clear skies, summer is the perfect time to learn about astronomy.
The 30th Night of the Stars occurs over the weekend of August 6, 7, 8; Opportunity to see the sky and its many shooting stars in the middle of summer #afp #afpgraphics #videography pic.twitter.com/vZ8ak2rscO
— Agence France-Presse (@afpfr) 5 August 2021
What can we see in the sky?
From late July to mid-August, our planet passes through a swarm of dust left on its way by Comet Swift-Tuttle. The debris from our atmosphere gets incinerated and forms shooting stars. These are called “Perseids” because they seem to have descended from the constellation Perseus.
The peak of this “rain” is expected on the night of August 10-11. The night of the stars occurs a few days earlier as the observation conditions would be more favorable. The Moon will be particularly wispy later this week, so its light won’t interfere with observations.
In addition to shooting stars, it will also be possible to observe the planet Venus, especially Jupiter and Saturn. Once the sun goes down, they can be seen rising in the sky, turning to the east. Even the most equipped enthusiasts will be able to explore the rings of Saturn.
How to properly observe shooting stars?
About 200 events are planned in France organized by astronomy clubs. A map is provided by the French Astronomical Association to locate the closest to the house.
It is also possible to admire the shooting stars from your side with the naked eye. To do this, you need to position yourself where the horizon is clear, away from any light pollution, and look to the northeast. All that is left is to arm oneself with patience. On the AFA website, a guide allows you to follow celestial events hour by hour.
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