For three days across August, from August 5-7, thousands of
people across France will be looking up at the night skies and taking a closer
look at what can be found in our galaxy during the Nuits des Étoiles.
More than 300 events will be held over the weekend across
the country, welcoming both amateurs and more experienced astronomists to learn
more about the Milky Way.
First held in 1991, the event is organised by the French
Association of Astronomy, with its popularity continuing to grow year on year.
It has now become so popular that it is also held in a number of other European
and African countries.
The date varies each year as it is chosen specifically to
coincide with the shower of Perseid meteors. The Perseid meteor shower is one
of the most spectacular to be seen on Earth annually, and appears to come from
the direction of the Perseus constellation. It comes about as the Swift-Tuttle
comet crosses into the Earths atmosphere, leaving a trail of cosmic dust
behind it, with these particles becoming shooting stars as they burn up in the
atmosphere at breakneck speeds.
During the peak times of the meteor showers, more than 60
meteors an hour can be seen lighting up the night skies. Being in the northern
hemisphere, France is also in a prime position to see more of the Perseids.
Among the organisations and experts getting together and
taking part in the event are planetariums, astronomers, observatories and the
Paris Science Museum. Across the country they will be holding a number of
events, mostly free, which span workshops, observation and stargazing sessions,
exhibitions and conferences. The Nuits des Étoiles main goal is simply to
educate people better on the night sky and its many planets and constellations
that can be seen.
If youre looking for a truly unpolluted patch of sky in the
midst of peace and tranquillity to enjoy the ultimate stargazing experience,
look no further than our luxury villas south of France, the Loire Valley,
Brittany and Normandy are just some of the peaceful locations perfect for a
night under the stars.
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