Asteroid Minerva finds its magical weapons in the sky

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.

Artistic view of the Triple Asteroid System (93) Minerva. The 150km primary at the center is surrounded by its two moons S/(93) 1 Aegis and S/(93) 2 Gorgoneion.

An ELT made of cardboard in your garden?

I am calling myself a Planetary Astronomer, essentially because I use ground-based telescopes to study our solar system bodies. Even if I often write posts on this blog  about the wonderful results brought to us by space missions, space stations and other space-releated projects, my heart and my work are mostly dedicated to pushing the limit of ground-based telescopes and their instruments. Extremely Large Telescopes (or ELTs), ground-based telescopes with an aperture larger than 30m are without any doubt the next giant leap in the development of astronomy. I always wondered what it would be to be close to one of these giants, now I know…

A fantastic night at Keck observatory – A follow-up


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.

Jupiter got a bruise.. only one but a large one.


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.