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Astronomie
Discover the sky
My telescope and me
Petra observing the birds...
« We can approach the invisible only through the visible »
                                              Paul Valéry
About Me

I have practised astronomy since my youth, for over thirty years, using telescopes of different kinds and sizes, ranging from a beginner’s instrument to the one-meter-diameter telescope built by Dany Cardoen at Puimichel Observatory (Alpes de Haute Provence). This is where I have learnt to practise celestial photography. Several of my photos have appeared in specialist journals and on Internet sites (see Gallery).

I have facilitated skygazing evenings not only at the Puimichel Observatory, but also during organised trips to astronomy havens such as the Sahara and Nepal. In 1990, I participated in an expedition “Astronomy at high altitude” in the Atacama desert in Chili, which included installing a telescope above 5000 m elevation (a first at the time) and exploring observational possibilities in a challenging environment where we struggled with the physical effects of high altitude. Following this expedition, I gave a series of talks in astronomy clubs.

In 2010 - 2011, I was responsible for tours and presentations at the Astrorama, a centre for astronomy located at col d'Èze, just outside Nice.

Since 2012, I have worked for several astronomical centres : La Ferme des Etoiles , Odelvar , Icare , Tomastro 

For a taste of the sky discovery I propose, have a look at the television coverage by Media06 channel, June 2014.  
Once I have installed my equipment, tuned the telescope and put the binoculars on a tripod (which takes about fifteen minutes), we are ready to begin (assuming the weather is favourable!). I can take you on a guided tour that takes us progressively into less accessible parts of the sky. Alternatively, you can opt for a more free-flowing approach or a formula tailored according to your specific wishes.
We then shift to the binoculars to explore the main objects visible on that particular evening, such as planets, nebulas, and galaxies. You will be surprised how much there is to see just using binoculars!
Using the telescope, we move closer to objects in the solar system, including the moon and planets, depending on their visibility, which varies with the date and time.
Using the telescope for deep-sky gazing, we penetrate deeper into the universe to discover nebulas and stars clusters in our galaxy (the Milky Way), coloured twin stars, and other galaxies.
Throughout, we will work at your pace and according to the questions you have. I love exploring both technical and philosophical questions and I have almost all the answers!

Every season is different with its own constellations, every time a new discovery: I am available all year long.

Please note that it is advisable to avoid the period of the full moon, as it lights up the sky and interferes with deep-sky observation.
Perhaps you have recently purchased a telescope for yourself or for your children, and you would like to make better use of it. In astronomy in particular, getting off to a good start is very important. Initial enthusiasm wears off all too easily if the first sessions turn out to be disappointing.

So let me guide you in all the aspects of this rewarding hobby with a training session that includes:

- introduction to astronomical theory

- introduction to astronomical optics

- installation and tuning of a telescope

- practical discovery of the sky: findng your bearings, pointing, etc.

- installation of free software on your computer, which will prove a great support in preparing your nights of observation

- introduction to celestial photography, if this what you are interested in.

I can also advise you on purchasing a telescope suited to your needs and budget.

We always proceed at your pace, there is no rush: all that counts is the satisfaction that comes with a new skill, the pleasure you find in a sense of accomplishment, and the silent wonder of contemplating the infinite.
Costs

The cost of an observational session or of a training session is  90 all-in in the Alpes Maritimes department, 110 in the Var or Alpes de Haute Provence departments. Please contact me if you are located elsewhere.

A standard training session lasts four hours. A stargazing evening lasts four hours from sunset onwards but may take longer depending on the weather and on your stamina! I never miss out on the opportunity of prolonging the evening with an hour or so if conditions are fine and clients eager to continue.

Should the weather suddenly change for the worse and not show rapid improvement, we will interrupt our session, and I will return some other time to continue where we left off, without any additional charge.

Looking forward to meeting soon under the stars!                                                                                                              
Jean-Marc
We begin exploring the sky with the naked eye: finding your bearings, understanding the sky’s movement, identifying constellations and famous stars, with the aid of a powerful laser pointer.



Introduction to practising astronomy
Your discovery of the sky