Planetary Defense with the eVscope Network - First results
Published 7/6/2020 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
In March 2020,  Joé Asencio joined the SETI Institute to develop the potential of the Unistellar network for Planetary Defense.  Part of his work is to build the tools necessary to analyze astrometry and photometry of  Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) and connect with our network of citizen astronomers. This is a summary of the first results obtained with the eVscope. Let's first thank our backyard astronomers who contributed  to this program:  Sam Rihani, Kevin Cross, Jacques Bérard, Nicole Ruel, Masaaki Yamato, Gilles Cartry and the Unistellar team. Because of their contribution we have validated the use of the eVscope to contribute... read more ❯

An occultation by the Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 1998 RO2 - Occultation par l'astéroïde géocroiseur 1998RO2
Published 4/13/2020 in Franck Marchis Blog Author inesdemuys
1998RO2 is a  body classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid that has been and will be mentioned in the news  in the next 2 weeks. With a diameter estimated to 2-4 km, it's one of the largest asteroid with this classification. First of all, let's clarify that we can say with confidence that it will NOT hit Earth since its orbit is well  characterized with occultations collected since its discovery in 1998. We know that it will make a close flyby to Earth by the end of April 2020 and will be visible with binocular and naked eye from very... read more ❯

Published 3/24/2020 in Franck Marchis Blog Author inesdemuys
--- Version française --- The english version is available below. À tous les citizen astronomes d'Unistellar, Si vous possédez un eVscope et que vous souhaitez participer à une campagne de science participative, vous pouvez suivre les instructions ci-dessous. Cette campagne est très simple. Grâce à l'application Unistellar, votre mission se résumera à l'observation d'une étoile lorsqu'elle est occultée par un astéroïde. L'occultation que nous vous proposons d'observer concerne les personnes qui résident dans la zone entre les deux lignes rouges (voir ci-dessous). L'astéroïde (1094) Siberia occultera une étoile de magnitude 11,3 pendant 1,8 seconde ce samedi 28 Mars 2020 aux alentours de 00h58 (heure... read more ❯

Saying Hello to Pluto from San Francisco with the eVscope
Published 9/26/2017 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Observing Report #2 – September 25, 2017 A few days ago we announced the direct imaging of Pluto through the eyepiece of a Unistellar eVscope prototype located in Marseille, France. To make sure that this was not a fluke, I decided to try to observe Pluto from San Francisco— more precisely, from my little backyard in the middle of the city. And we succeeded! Animation showing two observations of the same area of the sky taken with Unisteller’s eVscope. The dwarf planet Pluto (cyan circles) is moving with respect to the stars. The green circle shows the location... read more ❯

Seeing Pluto With Your Own Eyes From Your Backyard With Unistellar’s eVscope
Published 9/17/2017 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
One of the biggest challenges in popular astronomy is finding specific objects in the night sky. Most nebulae, galaxies, and asteroids are invisible to the naked eye, and locating them in the immense vastness of space has frustrated people for centuries. That’s why most amateur astronomers follow a common but frustrating path. They buy a telescope, look at the moon, a few bright stars, and five planets—and then just give up. After only a few months... read more ❯

The Triple Asteroid (87) Sylvia
Published 6/15/2016 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Another beautiful simulation of the triple asteroid system (87) Sylvia and its two moons Romulus and Remus made in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences. (87) Sylvia was discovered in 1866 by N.R. Pogson, a British astronomer located in Madras, India. This main-belt asteroid is large with a diameter of ~150 km. That's all we knew until recently. In 2005, we discovered two moons around the asteroid that we baptized Romulus and Remus, sons of the Rhea Sylvia and founder of Rome. Both moons are very small with a diameter estimated to ~20 and ~7 km. The primary is irregular with a diameter of... read more ❯

AGU Fall Meeting 2014: Solar System Small Bodies: Relics of Formation and New Worlds to Explore
Published 12/18/2014 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Can you believe it is December already!? As usual, it is a busy month with the AGU Fall Conference.  I co-organized a session on small solar system bodies with Padma Yanamandra-Fisher (PSI)  and Julie Castillo (JPL).  We will talk about recent discoveries in this emerging field including the discovery of rings around Chariklo, the understanding of regolith motion on asteroids, the new lander for Hayabusa 2 (MASCOT) and off course adaptive optics observations of asteroids. Below more info. See you there! Where: Thursday, December 18, 2014 01:40 PM - 03:40 PM When: Moscone West 3002 Why: The composition and physical properties of Small Solar System Bodies (SSSBs), remnants... read more ❯

Surprising discovery: a ring around an asteroid
Published 3/26/2014 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Some may say that our universe is full of beauty, others argue that it is our solar system that surprises us the most, but ultimately I will say that it is the world of small solar system bodies which is strikingly full of diversity. Today's announcement of the discovery of rings around the Centaur Chariklo by an international team of astronomers is a vivid proof that small solar system bodies have not yet revealed all their secrets.  My recent work has made me realize that asteroids (also called small solar system bodies or minor planets) are in fact real mini-geological worlds.... read more ❯

Asteroid Minerva finds its magical weapons in the sky
Published 12/20/2013 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
The International Astronomical Union has chosen the names Aegis and Gorgoneion for the two moons of the asteroid (93) Minerva.  My team discovered the small moons in 2009 using the W. M. Keck Telescope and its adaptive optics system. We proposed the names after receiving input from the public. Astronomer J.C. Watson discovered (93) Minerva, a large 150 km diameter asteroid located in the main belt, on Aug. 24, 1867... read more ❯

Everything you need to know about asteroids at the AGU Fall Meeting
Published 12/9/2013 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
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. This session will be an opportunity to discuss recent results in the field of asteroids and other small solar system bodies (SSSBs). The composition and physical properties of SSSBs, remnants of the formation of planets, are key to better understand our solar system. Increased knowledge of their surface... read more ❯

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