This summer, keep your eyes open, science is everywhere.

This summer, keep your eyes open, science is everywhere.

Multiple opportunities to talk about “science” through natural phenomena, sites or exhibitions are available to everyone during the summer. Journalists from the Science and Medicine section world Suggest some avenues to explore.

Milky Way over the Tour des Sagnes, in the Ubaye Valley (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), in March 2023.

Astronomy

Summer under the starry sky

You don’t need to master all aspects of astrophysics to enjoy the beautiful summer sky, just the pleasure should guide you. Step away from the frenetic pace of your daily life and allow yourself to be affected by the simple beauty of the colorful twilight as the stars slowly invade. If you stay in an urban environment, artificial lights will play a spoiler by preventing you from distinguishing the fainter stars and the ghostly trace of the Milky Way, but you will undoubtedly see enough stellar flashes to quickly reconstruct the major constellations, and Ursa Major, Swan, Lyra or Sagittarius will have no more secrets for you, just like the meetings the Moon has with the planets.

After the full Moon on July 21, mark in your calendars the close approach that Earth’s natural satellite will make to Saturn, on the evening of July 24, in an east-southeasterly direction. A week later, at dawn on July 30 and 31, its crescent will rise above the east-northeast horizon, not far from the orange dot of Mars and the intense white glow of Jupiter. Get in the habit of identifying these two planets at the end of the night to follow their rapid and clear approach: they will cross in mid-August, less than half a degree apart, and you will then be able to easily hide them simultaneously with the tip of your little finger and your outstretched arm. Obviously this closeness will only be apparent because Jupiter will then be three and a half times farther from Earth than Mars, but their conjunction will be truly remarkable.

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At dawn on August 27 and 28, the crescent moon will find these two planets, which will have already moved away from each other, but before that, don’t miss the late-night occultation of Saturn by the Moon on August 20-21. The rings of this giant planet are not visible to the naked eye or even small binoculars. So if you can take a look through a telescope on this occasion, seeing the cratered lunar limb slowly sweeping across the planet, its rings and its major moons should leave you with an unforgettable memory.

Milky Way, amazing view

Venus, the brightest planet in our sky, will remain in the twilight glow throughout the summer and will require very clear skies to be able to see it above the west-northwest horizon for about a half hour after sunset. On August 5, take advantage of the young crescent moon's presence alongside it to see it with or without binoculars.

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