The famous Perseids

As every year, it will be possible to observe with the naked eye the famous rain of shooting stars of the Perseids, one of the most abundant. But in reality, this dust from comet Swift-Tuttle, which is gradually breaking down as it orbits the Sun, has been visible since mid-July and will remain so until the end of August, with a peak in activity in the night of August 12 to 13.

The disintegration of this dust when it enters the atmosphere at a speed of approximately 200,000 km/h and at a temperature that can reach almost 1,700°C, generates the famous luminous trail that can be observed naked eye and which is called a “shooting star”. This star shower is also known for its “fireballs”, which come from pieces of comets that are larger than typical shooting stars and cause brighter and more persistent streaks of light.

At their peak, on the night of August 12 to 13 at 3 a.m., about a hundred meteors per hour are expected. To catch a glimpse of them, you have to look up at the constellation Perseus, from which the meteor shower takes its name, which rises in the northeast around 10 p.m. in August. This is where the Perseids’ radiant is located, the part of the sky from which they seem to arise, although they come from Comet Swift-Tuttle, whose next pass “near” Earth is scheduled for 2126. Problem, it will also be a full moon night and the luminosity of this one risks hindering the observation. To lessen its effects, it is best to turn your back on it or to make a shadow to hide it.

The Ball of the Planets

Beyond the Perseids, during these three evenings it will be possible to observe several planets of our solar system. The show will begin as soon as night falls, with Saturn, the ringed planet, rising around 10 p.m. on the horizon. To have a chance to see it, you will have to look at the east-southeast horizon through a telescope or a telescope. “You can try to observe its rings, which take the form of small ears on either side of the planet”, specifies the French Association of Astronomy (AFA), organizer of the Night of the stars. Saturn will be observable for most of the night, before disappearing in the early morning.

Around 11:30 p.m., Jupiter will rise and remain visible until morning. Again it will be necessary to be equipped with a telescope or a telescope to distinguish several of the four Galilean satellites (Io, Europe, Ganymede and Callisto) in orbit around the planet. Mars will in turn rise around 1 a.m., above the east-northeast horizon. “Its reddish luminosity is easily recognizable,” emphasizes the AFA. No need for glasses this time, unless you want to see some elements of its relief.

The ball of the planets will end around 5 a.m. with Venus rising above the east-northeast horizon. In addition to the evening star, which precedes the Sun by two hours, it will of course be possible to observe the classic stars and constellations of the summer sky. Starting with the very bright ones that form the Summer Triangle, made up of Vega (constellation Lyra), Deneb (Swan) and Altaïr (Eagle). “Vega, the brightest of the three stars, is located very high in the sky, very close to the zenith; it will therefore be easily identifiable throughout the night, ”explains the AFA.

The Milky Way as a bonus?

It will take a little more luck to discern the whitish glow of the Milky Way, which crosses the sky from north to south, because it will be necessary to be in a place far from any light pollution. In the South-West, the best places for this are the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, in the Hautes-Pyrénées, and the Regional Natural Park of Millevaches, between Creuse, Corrèze and Haute-Vienne.

What awaits you during the Nights of the Stars in Reims

The sky is clear and the ideal temperature, in the evening, to watch while observing the sky. Conditions that will benefit, this year again, those who take part in the Nuits des Étoiles which will take place in partnership with the Reims planetarium from Friday to Sunday. The program alternates between planetarium sessions to discover the evening sky and star gazing after dark.

On Friday, astronomy enthusiasts will be able to take advantage of 3 afternoon sessions at the planetarium while having access to the garden to observe the sun with suitable instruments. The Beine-Nauroy observatory, which is sold out, will offer an evening punctuated by a conference and live commented observations.

Saturday promises to be a little busier since two planetarium sessions are organized in the afternoon and evening. Simultaneously, the garden is open for free during these two times for meteorological and stellar observations with the telescope. The evening planetarium sessions are unfortunately already full.

At the end of the event, three planetarium sessions are again offered on Sunday afternoon.



For 3 nights, on August 5, 6 and 7, come and watch the enchanting spectacle of the Star Nights ! Even at Paris and in Ile-de-Francewhere the light pollution is nevertheless quite significant, you will be able to take advantage of this magical event.

The Star Night is organized by theFrench Association of Astronomy (AFA), which has been meeting every year for 30 years for enthusiasts of stars. In all, it organizes more than 250 events around their observation. Thus, there are about fifteen parks and gardensthe museum ofAir and Space and The city of Science which offer observation sessions with the naked eye and telescope as well as practical workshops.

Enjoy the Night of Stars 2022 in the Pyrénées-Orientales

Every year thousands of curious people gaze up at the sky during the Night of the Stars. In the four corners of France, free events are organized from August 5 to 7, 2022. They have been provided since 1991 by teams of volunteer astronomers. This year, the theme chosen by the Association Française d’Astronomie is that of exploration. What is the program in the Pyrénées-Orientales? Which spots offer the best vantage point to observe the starry sky?

A few words about this 2022 edition of the Night of the Stars

The site of the French Association of Astronomy specifies that this theme of exploration was chosen “at a time when the return to the Moon is materializing with Artemis, from the exploration of Mars”. Other details are provided: “The celestial spectacle will also be there with a first lunar crescent in the night sky then the deep sky will be within reach of our telescopes, from the Milky Way from north to south, from Cassiopeia and Perseus, to Scorpio and Sagittarius, towards the galactic center”.

After two years of pandemic, curious as scientists are happy to participate in this new edition based on transmission and emotions. Everyone can participate and come and observe the stars, even neophytes. They will be guided by specialists.

Shower of shooting stars: the most beautiful night of the year is August 12!

Take out your deckchairs, prepare a thermos (or a bottle of Chasselas, depending), the most beautiful night of the year will be between August 12 and 13, 2022. The shower of shooting stars from famous Perseids will then reach its peak. Specialists announce outright nearly 200 of them per hour at the height of the night. And as nearly 500 municipalities in French-speaking Switzerland have been invited by the Perséides Project to turn off their public lighting, the spectacle – if the weather conditions are right – risks being spectacular. Because in our regions, due to light pollution, the stars are hardly visible, the Milky Way unobservable… Who, while traveling or in the high mountains, has not marveled at the beauty of the night sky, discovering it for the first time?

Under the slogan “Turn off the lights to see better at night”, the Perseids Project is in its fourth edition. And more and more municipalities are participating in this great movement, born in Orbe. In French-speaking Switzerland first, but also elsewhere in Europe, timidly but surely. And if your municipality is not on the list of participants this year, don’t panic, the association invites you to contact your local authorities to ask them to join the movement.

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