• The solar system fascinates.

    But it is not easy to observe when you start.

  • The Nantes Astronomical Society organizes several initiation sessions each year.

    Its premiere takes place this Friday evening.

  • Its president delivers, for 20 Minutes, some valuable advice.

The members of the Nantes Astronomical Society meet every Friday to observe the sky.

This Friday evening, they are organizing an introductory session in the observation of the stars on the theme “Observation of the solar system: The Moon, the Sun and the planets”.

The opportunity for 20 Minutes to question Frédéric Brion, president of the association, on the advice to be given to neophytes to observe the main stars of the solar system

Sun, watch your eyes

The two essential stars of the solar system are the Sun and the Moon.

"The Sun is a dangerous star to observe with the naked eye", insists Frédéric Brion.

Fortunately, there are specialized instruments with filters that allow a fraction of the sunlight to be perceived.

Photosensitive cells can indeed be damaged by intense light.

The Moon, crater mission

For the moon, there is no danger in observing it.

She is easy to spot.

With a simple pair of binoculars, it is possible to observe craters.

"The Moon is visible in the evening in the first quarter, all night in the full moon, and at the end of the night in the last quarter", explains Frédéric Brion.

To go further and explore the lunar reliefs, you need a telescope.

Jupiter, the strongest

The largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter, is easily located, it is the brightest star with the planet Mars.

“It is for me one of the most beautiful planets, with cloud formations on the planet.

One such phenomenon is the Great Red Spot, an anticyclone "observed for over 300 years."

Jupiter has the distinction of having four main moons, observable with a simple pair of binoculars.

Jupiter is visible throughout the end of the year 2022.

Mars, the beautiful red

Mars is observable with a small instrument, there is the possibility of seeing reliefs of the planets, like polar caps.

“With a bigger instrument you have the possibility of observing phenomena like dust storms.

“Mars revolves around the sun in 26 months, and every 26 months returns close to the Earth, it will be “observable in December”, we are told.

When close to Earth, the planet glows with a strong red-tinged glow, which makes it easy to recognize.

Come, in the evening or in the morning

Venus is observable in the evening at dusk or in the morning at dawn.

We begin to see it in the morning on the eastern horizon.

The atmosphere of the planet is very dense, the conditions are inhospitable, with very hot temperatures and citric acid rains.

“It will be clearly visible in the evening around February” advances the president of the SAN.

Saturn, lord of the rings

“The famous rings of Saturn are visible with a pair of binoculars: for neophytes it's fantastic.

The planet will be clearly visible next summer.

The planet reaches its opposition on August 2 and it is around this time that it will be well observable.

Regarding the rings, they are only visible with the help of a telescope.


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“There are software programs that can simulate the appearance of the sky, such as Cartes du Ciel or Stellarium”.

There are also astronomy journals, with sky maps showing the positioning of the stars for better orientation.

  • Space

  • Nantes

  • Science

  • Astronomy

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