Sponsoring my research. Any volunteers?
Published 9/24/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, I mentioned several months ago that I am a Principal Investigator at SETI Institute. Most of you have no idea what it means to be a "Principal Investigator" or a "soft-money" researcher. That will be the topic of this post. This is a rough simplification but in the US there are three types of astronomers. Let me describe you a bit who we are: The professors (I should have capitalized that...) work in a university, they are paid by the university to teach and to do their research. They generally have a group of postdocs and students who work with them. Each... read more ❯

A fantastic night at Keck observatory - A follow-up
Published 8/16/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, Yesterday I was observing at Keck Observatory as you could read in my previous post. I was not very positive when I wrote my post since the summit was in the fog and clouds. A few minutes after I finished writing it up it got clear and we could open the telescope just on time to start observing (see the allsky picture below). This post is a brief report about what happened last night. The main program of my night was to... read more ❯

Binary asteroids and good Omens - the dilemma of observers
Published 8/16/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, I am in Hawaii on the Big Island preparing our observations at Keck Observatory for tonight. If the weather gets clear, it is going to be an interesting night. My main program tonight is to search for companions of asteroids around S-type asteroids, meaning asteroids with a "rocky" composition. For this purpose and with the help of Jerome Berthier and Frederic Vachier, my colleagues at the IMCCE, we selected from an initial list of the first 10,000 asteroids which ones are bright enough (magnitude of 13 at least), observable (elongation of 60 deg or more), and classified as S-type from the... read more ❯

A first class telescope for a first class astronomical site
Published 7/23/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Dear readers, After several years of site testings the consortium in charge of building the TMT (Thirty-Meter Telescope) announced that they have chosen the Mauna Kea as a site for this new facility. This is an important news for the community of astronomers.We were anxiously for this decision to be taken, since it will also mean that the construction of the telescope will be soon initiated. The TMT will most likely be the first member of the future generation of telescope to be built. A european group led by ESO is designing the E-ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope) and another consortium... read more ❯

Visit at Keck Observatory - almost the end
Published 2/7/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, I am still at Keck Observatory, but I am packing my stuff since I am about to leave Big Island for San Francisco, California. It was a rewarding experience to be at Keck Observatory HQ and I am very grateful to Peter Wizinovich, Optical System Manager and Taft Amandroff , the director of the observatory for inviting me. Keck Observatory is a wonderful place to meet people and I had stimulating discussions about future instruments for ground-based astronomy. I am leaving Big Island the head full of... read more ❯

Visit at the Big Island- Keck Observatory and Mauna Kea
Published 2/1/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, The last 10 days have been pretty hectic since I am at the Big Island (Hawaii) with my family. I am invited by the Keck Observatory for 3 weeks to work on the Next Generation Adaptive Optics project.  The timing could not have been better since I am renovating my house, so I happily left the rainy San Francisco for the warm and sunny Hawaii. Once again I failed in writing 2 posts per week. My apologize for that but I am sure that... read more ❯