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 ❯

Keck AO Observations: Io Volcanism - "Mornes plaines"
Published 7/15/2010 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
It has been a while I did not write anything on this blog. As usual I am late on reporting some news in the world of astronomy. Today I decided to write a short post on observations that we did using the Keck telescope and its AO system about Io. Like last year, my summer is busy with the REU students of the SETI Institute. I will write a specific post on two students who are working with me and their project in a few days. I obtained telescope time at the end of June 2010 with the W.M. Keck II telescope... read more ❯

Minerva and its two moons - confirmed!
Published 9/10/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, You may remember that I posted on my blog that we discovered a forth triple asteroid system in the main-belt. I submitted our discovery to the International Astronomical Union through a circular which was finally published on August 31.I am attaching the text of the circular since I am not 100% sure that everybody can access to the above link. F. Marchis and B. Macomber, Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute and University of California at Berkeley; J. Berthier and F. Vachier, Institut de Mecanique Celeste et de Calcul des Ephemerides, Observatoire de Paris; and J. P. Emery,... 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 ❯

Jupiter got a bruise.. only one but a large one.
Published 7/21/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, Last Sunday I posted on my blog an announcement about the possible recent impact on Jupiter atmosphere. I did not realize that a lot of my colleagues read this blog. On Sunday evening Paul Kalas, an adjunct professor at UC-Berkeley, but also a colleague and a friend, contacted me to let me know that he was observing at Keck Observatory and could potentially observe this feature. Over the night, we discussed and prepared the observations. Interestingly, Paul is in sabbatical  in Crete (Greece), I was in San Francisco, and Mike Fitzgerald, recently hired professor at UCLA, was on the Big Island... 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 ❯