personal

How to explain the inconceivable
Published 1/10/2016 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
I am often asked to comment on what happened in Paris last December since I have both French and American citizenships and I live in the US. Like a lot of my compatriotes, it has been difficult to watch those events unfold on Friday afternoon December 13 (I was working at George Mason University in DC ). Since then, he has been also impossible to rationalize what really happened and to give a sense on those horrific events. Today I listened to "Geopolitique", a short program aired on France Inter which described events and their consequences in the geopolitical scale. Bernard Guetta summarized very well what are my thoughts on... read more ❯

The Next Step in Exoplanetary Science: Imaging New Worlds
Published 12/27/2013 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
In 2003, I was lucky enough to be part of a small group of astronomers that met at the University of California at Berkeley to brainstorm on an innovative idea: the design of an instrument to image and characterize planets around other stars, called exoplanets, using a telescope in the 8 – 10 meter class. A decade later, such an instrument became reality with the arrival of the Gemini Planet Imager (called also GPI, or “Gee-pie”) instrument at the Gemini South telescope in Chile. Five known planetary systems imaged with current adaptive optics systems. Fomalhaut shown on... read more ❯

Take a break today, read this poem "Across the Dark, the Pioneers"
Published 9/5/2013 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
If you need a break today, you should read this poem  by G. Landis published recently in the Starship Century Book. Truly inspiring!     Across the Dark, the Pioneers Geoffrey A. Landis The ships first sent across the dark ocean, pebbles flung into the universe vast, rocket-propelled, a flash of motion past Jupiter, Saturn, the Kuiper cloud: they glide outward to the stars now silent, dead, pitted by dust a voyage of a hundred thousand years: the Voyagers and Pioneers. The next probes sent out across the dark the swiftest ships yet made by man ion-engined craft, faster... read more ❯

End of world predictions: a wasted moment of our collective resources
Published 12/21/2012 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
It is amazing the amount of money and time wasted in 2012 on this "end of the world" prediction. We can blame ignorance of the people or sensationalism from the media, but we should also discuss the role of educated people, such as scientists, who have been spent time writing books & websites, answering interviews and debating on this non-sense. They promoted this myth until it was deemed a truth in the mind of people. This energy could have been spent to do something good for this world, something useful to make it... read more ❯

Venus Transit: From San Francisco in 2012 to Mars in 2030
Published 6/11/2012 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
If you read this blog, I am certain that you are aware of the Venus Transit which occurred  from  22:09 UTC on 5 June 2012 to 04:49 UTC on 6 June (3:09pm to 8:49pm PDT). Because this astronomical event was visible from North America, Europe, and part of Africa & Asia, and it was streamed around the world from several observatories, it has been most likely one of the most observed and advertised astronomical phenomena, so I had to write a short personal post about it. A planetary transit occurred when a planetary target (here Venus) is passing in front of another one (here the Sun). An observer located on... read more ❯

Introduction
Published 5/9/2012 in Rob French's Blog Author rfrench
Hello, everyone.  Welcome to my blog as part of the Cosmic Diary.  I'm an astronomer at the SETI Institute.  Or a planetary scientist.  Or a planetary astronomer.  Or something.  I've never figured out what to call myself.  I spend my days doing what most scientists do: converting raw data into published papers, hopefully figuring out some fundamental truth about the universe and advancing the scope of human knowledge along the way.  Or at least that's the theory.  Often my days are actually spent beating my head against... read more ❯

The New Cosmic Diary is now open
Published 4/13/2012 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Some of you may have noticed that the Cosmic Diary Blog was unavailable over the past 2 weeks due to the migration of the Blog to the SETI Institute server. I am happy to announce that thanks to the great effort of our IT team (Special thanks to J. Brewster!), the blog is now back and will soon expand with new bloggers. We have been planning for a while to make this major change but we had to postpone it due to lack of time and clear knowledge on the Wordpress server. But it is now done, and it is very... read more ❯

Renovation of the German-Spanish agreement for the future of Calar Alto
Published 12/10/2010 in David Barrado Author dbarrado
After many moths and a lot of work .... (and this is one of the reasons why I was not active writing posts, or in science) .... We have an agreement! Calar Alto Observatory (Almería, Southern Spain) will continue it scientific operations up to the end of 2018. I am attaching the press release. On December 2nd 2010, the German Max Planck Society (MPG) and Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have signed an agreement in order to operate the Calar Alto Observatory at the German-Spanish Astronomical Centre during the period 2014-2018. The German-Spanish Astronomical Centre (CAHA) is a joint venture of the... read more ❯

Hello from Sydney
Published 5/4/2010 in Gayandhi de Silva Author gsilva
Hello all, I am back!! So where to start on all the crazy things that have happened since January... Well, I am now blogging from Sydney, Australia. Since March, I am a research astronomer at the AAO (which stands for Anglo-Australian Observatory, but from July 1st it will change to Australian Astronomical Observatory). With the offer for this position coming in mid January, I had to unfortunately pull the plug on the Marie-Curie fellowship in Lund, Sweden. So I immediately changed our plans. Flights to Sweden were canceled, school enrollments from my kids in Lund and childcare was canceled, stopped our bid... read more ❯

SETI Institute Anniversary 1/6: The Milky Way Galaxy
Published 2/19/2010 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
It is getting more and more difficult to find a dark place, without night pollution and far from the smog of the cities, to be able to realize that we are part of a large barred spiral galaxy called the "Milky Way Galaxy".  Seen from Earth, our galaxy will appear as a fuzzy arc in the sky commonly called the Milky Way and composed of 200-400 billion stars. This picture  taken by Tony Hallas, a mosaic of 24 frames taken in north of California, was shown in APOD on December 25 2009. Our Galaxy is old with an estimated age of... read more ❯

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