Of sandy lanes

A piece of Mars: Of Sandy Lanes. The yellowish-tan rocks are tall high-standing hills that have been scoured by the wind. Dark sand slowly cuts down the whiter rocks in the valleys, slowly creating majestic lanes bordered by steep, sharp hills. My guess is the sand is moving from top to bottom in this image.

Panorama of ATA site

Sometime back, professional photographer Ron Barrett spent the day at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory (site of the Allen Telescope Array) and worked up a beautiful panorama of the site: http://www.seti.org/node/1108 I love how much detail is available in this image (you can zoom in a long way). BTW, we were tracking the sun during

Echoes of the past

These dunes are quite unusual for Mars, and difficult to interpret. The thick blue and white stripes are dunes in their current location, but subtle stripes above them seem to indicate former positions of dunes, small pieces that got left behind as the dunes marched toward the bottom of the image. (HiRISE ESP_022645_1505)

I ♥ astronomy


As one can see (I put notes on the flickr image, click on it) this 25-second exposure taken on October 20, 2011 contains a lot of things (the Earth’s zodiacal light, the “Kiwi”, the galactic center, the VLT observatory, a big heart in light painting, etc.) and it is a tribute to my wife who came to live in Chile with me so I could pursue my dream with astronomy. I stood behind my camera setup on a small tripod and fired the timer, then I drew a heart in the air using my ESO tiny key-chain Maglite®. It took me quite a few tried to get it like that especially not having a press-button flash light. Pressed against my fingers the heart was pink/red naturally and I just accentuated the pink.

This Picture was selected as ESO Picture of the week in february 2012 as a Valentine’s day image:

Searching for Fragments of the Sutter’s Mill Meteorite

An update about the Sutter’s Mill Meteorite that I mentioned yesterday. A few hours ago, I saw the pieces that Peter Jenniskens brought at the SETI Institute. I am not a meteorite expert but they indeed look like a carbonaceous chondrite meteorite. The fragments are black, with tiny white flecks scattered through the interior. On the surface, one can see black coating due to the heating during the passage through the Earth atmosphere.

Fragments of the Sutter's Mill Meteorites brought by Peter Jennisken at the SETI Institute (1cm cube is added for scale) (credit: F. Marchis)

Hi Friends!

It has been almost a week, but I’m still high on my trip to AbSciCon (Astrobiology Science Conference), in Atlanta, GA. Funded by NASA, AbSciCon is held only bi-yearly, and brings together all sorts of people in astrobiology, like biologists, chemists, geologists, psychologists, and even astrophysicists. I presented two papers, one on recent observations using