Kepler-10b – The first unambiguous rocky exoplanet

It is done. The Kepler team finally announced the discovery of its first terrestrial exoplanet. A referred journal, accepted in the Astrophysical journal (here) by Natalie Batalha and a large number of colleagues, describes this new member of the exoplanet family. This is the 519th known exoplanet based on the Extra-solar Planets Catalog, but definitely a special one.

Back from the European snow – Darwin day celebration at Stanford


I am back from a long trip in Europe where I visited my collaborators at the IMCCE and at the Observatoire de Paris-Meudon. I took a few days of vacations in the northern part of Moravia to enjoy the snow, see my inlaws and my family and teach skiing to my kids. I am back since Monday night, and obviouly I am completely jet-lagged. So the post today will be short and most informative for the people living in the Bay Area

Some news of the planet Mercury from the AGU Fall conference

Fifteen days ago, I wrote a short post on this blog to let you know that I was flying to Cleveland, OH to meet colleagues interesting in space mission design. Without realizing it, this project has been taking over all my time and my energy (including nights of work and thinking) and produced a roller-coaster of excellent and bad news. Because it is still uncertain what exactly it is going to happen I will not mention it today, but I will keep you posted as soon I see the light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂 Today I will focus my post on a very positive note which is the session Mercury and the Messenger mission that I attended at the AGU Fall conference.

Back from the Planetary Defense Conference – May is going to be CRAZY!


I am back from Granada where I enjoy this very inspirational conference called Planetary Defense Conference (see my previous post). I would like to spend some time to discuss in this blog the technologies presented by various colleagues about the deflection of a potential asteroid threat. I realized listening to their talks that the limit between science and science-fiction is getting fuzzier as I am getting older.:-)

Back from LPSC (what is that?)

First of all sorry for the long absence, since I updated my SAFARI to the 4beta version, I lost capabilities to access and write this blog. So I switched back to Firefox. I should have waited the final version of Safari instead of becoming a beta tester…

End of March is a busy month for astronomers who want to access to telescopes. All the deadlines for Fall-Winter 2009-2010 telescope time are concentrated during this period. This year I decided to focus on a few proposals aimed at studying binary asteroids instead of submitted a lot of them. Quality vs Quantity let’s see in a few months if this strategy will pay off.