Getting to Know the Stars with Eric Lagadic

Getting to Know the Stars with Eric Lagadic

This summer, every Friday, we'll be back to the stars, the grand return of our cosmic camps!

And the beginning of this news Interstellar Epic SeriesIt is only natural that we return to the basics. For thousands of years, humans have gazed in awe at the starry sky, hoping to find answers to their existential questions there. Observational instruments have improved, knowledge has improved, but the fascination remains. Astrophysicist Eric Lagadic recounts this saga in a beautiful book, “Cosmic Odyssey – An Intimate History of the Stars” by Ed Sewell (2023)His story combines the history of science, modern discoveries, and the personal memories of an enthusiastic astrophysicist who surveyed the planet to get closer to the stars. He went to where the world's most powerful telescopes were, from Chile to Hawaii to Senegal.

The earth is square

54 minutes

Stardust specialist, Eric Lagadic He fell into the cosmic potion cauldron while taking a course in nuclear physics at the University of Brest. He left to study in Nice where he now lives, stationed at the Observatory of the Côte d'Azur.

His nickname “Lagadec” means “big eye, good eye” in Breton, and Eric likes to say he is “destined”!

Auxiliary telescopes say "Pacman" Captured by Eric Lagadic at Cerro Paranal Observatory in Chile.
Auxiliary telescopes known as “Backman” taken by Eric Lagadic at the Cerro Paranal Observatory in Chile.

– Eric Lagadic

His first book takes us on a journey from Ursa Major to Betelgeuse, via the asteroid Polymelus, the Fried Egg Nebula, and the Andromeda Galaxy. To tell us about the great scientific discoveries he has witnessed, he weaves together personal memories and secrets of exploration. Eric Lagadec takes us by the hand as he leads us through the history of the birth of galaxies, planets, and other stars: a grand journey in our world and his!

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Mount Darry, where it all began…

At the age of 21, Eric Lagadec observed the stars for the first time through a telescope, surrounded by his friends, in Mont d’Are in his native Brittany. Astronomy makes it possible to go to places that are difficult to reach, very isolated from cities and the light pollution they generate. Since then, he has discovered exceptional places that few people have the opportunity to visit. It is an opportunity. According to him, knowledge is multicultural and every people has a role to play in scientific exploration.

exceptional discoveries

Three years after defending his dissertation, Eric Lagadic will have access to what he describes as The Holy Grail of Astronomy : The giant Chilean telescopes near the Atacama Desert. On this occasion he took his first image of the Milky Way. (We find it in the middle of the book, Figures 5 and 6)

He then returned to Manchester for two years, trying to make sense of what he had observed. The star IRAS 17163-3907 became his new obsession, and he and a colleague nicknamed it the Fried Egg Nebula. Through experience and observations, they realized that they were facing an extremely rare star that shines as brightly as 500,000 suns. It is a yellow giant, and there are only four or five of them in the galaxy.

“To infinity…

But not further!” is the title of the show he performs on stage with comedian Guillaume Maurice, Starting with the famous quote attributed to Albert Einstein: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. But as for the universe, I have not yet acquired absolute certainty.” A great opportunity to learn more about the universe while laughing out loud. Find all the information and upcoming dates here.

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