It is this time of the year again… I am convening and chairing a session on Asteroids entitled “Characterizing Small Solar System Bodies” tomorrow Tuesday at the December 9th at AGU Fall Meeting. It will be composed of nine talks presented in the morning and twenty posters Characterizing Small Solar System Bodies in the afternoon.
I am back from the 45th annual Division of Planetary Sciences meeting in Denver, Colorado, where I presented my findings on the study of the triple asteroid system (87) Sylvia through a poster and in a press conference (video here). Located in the asteroid main-belt, we know that (87) Sylvia possesses two moons since our publication in Nature Journal in 2005. Our team has combined observations from professional-class telescopes and from small telescopes used by amateur astronomers to reveal that this 270-km diameter main-belt asteroid has a complex interior, probably linked to the way the multiple system was formed.
If you need a break today, you should read this poem by G. Landis published recently in the Starship Century Book. Truly inspiring!
Like several thousand people, the SETI Institute waved at Saturn on Friday July 19 at 2:27pm for ~15 min. In full day light, it was impossible to see Saturn on the east close to the horizon but we trusted our local astronomers (and several App on iPhone) to wave and smile in the right direction toward the gaseous planet. It is likely that the Cassini spacecraft had recorded 80 min later a glimpse of photons coming from us.
It was fun to participate to this “global moment of cosmic self-awareness” (Thanks C. Porco), especially on a Friday afternoon.
THE FOLLOWING ITEM WAS ISSUED BY ASTRONOMY MAGAZINE IN WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN, AND IS POSTED ON MY BLOG FOR YOUR INFORMATION.
29 May 2013
This release is based on a story in the June 2013 issue of Astronomy magazine: http://www.astronomy.com/~/media/Files/PDF/Magazine%20articles/ET-with-infrared-light.pdf
Until recently, one of the ultimate mysteries of the universe — how many civilizations may exist on planets orbiting other stars in the Milky Way Galaxy — relied on the possibility of detecting intelligent beings by radio signals. Now a team of astronomers, engineers, and physicists from the University of Hawaii, the University of Freiburg, and elsewhere has proposed a new and powerful technique to search for intelligent life.
Adapted from MESSENGER Mission News (March 26, 2013)
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) — the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919 — recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign names to nine impact craters on Mercury. In keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after famous deceased artists, musicians, or authors or other contributors to the humanities.
The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is a next generation adaptive optics instrument being built for the Gemini Observatory. This is an ambitious project with the goal of directly imaging extrasolar planets orbiting nearby stars. The instrument is currently being integrated at the University of California at Santa Cruz. After more than a year of testing in a fixed orientation in a clean room, on March 7, 2013, the 2,030 kg instrument was set up on a crane and flexure rig. In collaboration with the UCSC team, we prepared this time lapse video showing GPI being set up in its new position.
Today I would like to share with you an idea for the International Women’s day on March 8 2013. If you work in an institution, university, or non-profit related to science, have you taken note of the number of women around you? In astronomy and planetary science, it is not too bad even if it is not perfect, but some “hard” science groups, like physics or computer science, clearly have a low proportion of women in their ranks. I will not elaborate on the reasons for such lack of representation; instead, I propose to focus on the bright side.
Almost 12h after the event, it is time to gather my notes on the Russian meteor event (#RussianMeteor) and my thoughts on this impact and those which may come soon.
An important message
We are asking YOU, the US-based SETI Institute Fans, our followers on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to help us save science from sequestration. Send a FAX or write a letter and even send a tweet to your members of Congress. Today is the day you should act to save science!