Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Last night, Kathryn, Seb and I braved the ever-changing weather and made our way over to the Parc de la Villette to attend the 18th "Nuit des étoiles" (night of the stars). It was way different than I was expecting - for one, there weren't many people there (probably due to the weather) and two, it was outside. It was a bit cool, but we lucked out with the weather and the sky stayed fairly clear for the night.

For the first part of the evening, everyone was sort of split up into three groups, listening to these nutty French astronomists talk about the stars. Our group was led by a man and a woman, and there was a really light-hearted atmosphere. The two of them sort of reminded me of mad scientists - they were using anything and everything (even themselves) as props. Here you've got these grown adults running around in a circle, of their own free will, pretending to be the sun, the moon, Earth, etc. Very entertaining. And Very un-French.

They also had this super-telescope they'd used to zoom in on Jupiter and some of its moons. After talking about Jupiter for a bit, they used the same telescope to zoom in on our moon - you could see the craters and everything, it was pretty cool. We also got a little sort of adjustable summer star chart (though mine was lost later on in a small incident involving a glass of wine) that you could turn based on the date and the time, and it would show you which starts were where.

My absolutely favorite part of the night though was the light-bulb moment when I realized that the Milky Way was indeed called.....wait for voie lactée. How hilarious is that?? I don't know what I thought it would be called, but I mean just say it - VOIE LACTEE. It even sounds funny. And it's literally a direct translation of Milky Way into French. Kathryn thinks they bable-fished it (lol). But maybe you had to be there. Also, this is a big tangent, but since when is "moine" masculin? Come on, un just sounds bad. And it's difficult to say. Une moine would be so much better. Right?? Who's with me? Ya hear that Académie de la Langue Française?? (End tangent).

Anyways there is supposed to be a big meteor shower on August 11 (though some websites I saw are saying the 12th will be the big night), so if it's a clear, we are thinking about trying to find someplace to go watch it - anyone interested in joining us? Or have any suggestions of a park in Paris that would be a good viewing point?



Blogger Doc said...

The now-famous Kylie-Mac has mentioned that the stars out at my place are awesome. So... Pack up Paris and bring it here--no street lights, no tall buildings, AND I have a football field for a front yard.

August 9, 2008 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger Anon said...


August 10, 2008 at 2:23 AM  
Blogger wcs said...

I was out looking at jupiter last night, er, evening, too.

I'm hoping for good weather for the meteor shower, although it's really hard for me to stay up that long.

August 10, 2008 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger Ken Broadhurst said...

Maybe the whole thing is named for a candy bar. Or maybe the English is a literal translation of a French, Italian, or Latin expression...

August 10, 2008 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger MISS YURI said...

the answer

my dad is an amateur astronomer, we've got a big telescope that he brings out sometimes for eclipses and the like!

August 10, 2008 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger Andromeda said...

Hey! Is that a picture of me? :-) I should probably be more into stars, but there's just so many! And voie lactee is a super silly name and sounds kind of dirty since it makes me think of things that lactate, heh.

August 12, 2008 at 4:15 AM  
Blogger Samantha said...

Too funny - and you're right, it just sounds dirty!

August 12, 2008 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I wanted to be an astronomer- started to minor in it. Ah well. It is one of those professions where you basically can't do anything except turn on the lights in the planetarium without a PhD.

August 15, 2008 at 10:19 AM  

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