Surprising discovery: a ring around an asteroid

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.


Mercury Craters named after world renowned artists, musicians and authors

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.

Global map of Mercury recently released by the NASA Messenger team. The globe on the left was created from the MDIS monochrome surface morphology base map campaign. The globe on the right was produced from the MDIS color base map campaign. Portraits of the nine artists, musicians and authors honored with the name of a crater on the planet. (adapted from NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington & Wikipedia by F. Marchis)

Featuring the Women Of Science #WomenOfScience

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.