Thoughts

Let's be careful about this "SETI" signal
Published 8/29/2016 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
August 31: See update at the end of this post Several readers have contacted me recently about reports that a group of international astronomers have detected a strong signal coming from a distant star that could be a sign of a high-technology civilization. Here’s my reaction: it’s interesting, but it’s definitely not the sign of an alien civilization—at least not yet. Here’s why: The signal was first detected in May 2015 and has not repeated since. Unfortunately, although international protocols call for alerting the astronomical community to the detection of a mysterious signal, the... read more ❯

New NASA Institute - The NASA-Armstrong Space Exploration Institute?
Published 10/22/2012 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
NASA made a request for input to name the new NASA Science and Exploration Institute.  You can propose your own name on this web site. I just submitted a proposed name for this virtual institute, which will include other destinations beyond the Moon, stemming from NASA’s flexible path strategy for human exploration. I propose to name this new NASA center the "NASA-Armstrong Space Exploration Institute" (or NASEI). Here why... Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the Moon, was also a hero for several generations of American... read more ❯

A picture of our home taken from Mercury's orbit
Published 8/17/2010 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Just a short post today. I am still recovering from the SETIcon. I will tell you more about it soon. An image is worth a thousand words so just look at this picture taken by Messenger Spacecraft. The Messenger spacecraft is looking for Vulcanoids, an hypothetical population of asteroids which could be orbiting between Mercury and the Sun. Messenger is a space mission currently in orbit around the Sun which a perihelion nearby the... read more ❯

SETI 25th Anniversary 3/6: life – what, where, how, when?
Published 2/24/2010 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
This is definitely the banner for which I am the least qualified to write about since I am not a biologist. It is, however a very important part of the SETI Institute research that needs to be fully acknowledged and fully described. Astrobiologists from the SETI Institute dedicate their effort to response to these simples. What is life? When did life appear? Where is it coming from? How did life evolve? In their lab they analyze samples of organisms such as extremophile, which are known to live at the edge of what normal organisms could tolerate. These “super-organisms” are found in... read more ❯

SETI Institute Anniversary 1/6: The Milky Way Galaxy
Published 2/19/2010 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
It is getting more and more difficult to find a dark place, without night pollution and far from the smog of the cities, to be able to realize that we are part of a large barred spiral galaxy called the "Milky Way Galaxy".  Seen from Earth, our galaxy will appear as a fuzzy arc in the sky commonly called the Milky Way and composed of 200-400 billion stars. This picture  taken by Tony Hallas, a mosaic of 24 frames taken in north of California, was shown in APOD on December 25 2009. Our Galaxy is old with an estimated age of... read more ❯

400 years of telescope - Les 400 ans du telescope!
Published 11/12/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Last April, I mentioned in this post this interesting cinematic documentary named "400 years of Telescope" produced and directed by Kris Koenig, written by Donald Goldsmith, Ph.D. , Albert van Helden, Ph.D. and Mr. Koenig. Interestingly I somehow became involved in this amazing work. here the story...If you followed my previous posts, you may remember that I ordered a large number of Galileoscopes for UC-Berkeley and SETI Institute staff and students. I got an order from "D. Goldsmith" who happened to be one of the writers of this documentary. As usual in my case (since I am very bad with names), I did... read more ❯

Adopt a scientist program - The story in the news
Published 10/15/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, In my previous post, I mentioned the "adopt-a-scientist" program of the SETI Institute which offers individual to sponsor the research of any SETI researchers. Apparently the article published in space.com got noticed and I received a few emails from journalists around the world asking for details and several of them reported our stories. My friend David Bois wrote a short article for the Tonic.com website. If you don't know this website I encourage you to subscribe to it. It contains some interesting pieces of information that you will not read in main stream media. Indeed tonic.com defined itself as "a media company... read more ❯

I discovered the Galilean Satellites with my Galileoscope :-)
Published 9/15/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
The end of the weekend... It was a very pleasant one since I went camping near Lake Camanche with my family and friends and we enjoyed a last glimpse of summer without Internet and G3. It gives me also the opportunity to test the Galileoscope. Guess what! I re-discovered the Galilean satellites :-) So I assembled and tested my Galileoscope successfully. It took me about 30 min to finalize it with its two eyepieces. The only tricky part was to make sure that the focuser tube is well set up to allow... read more ❯

Fire at Mount Wilson Observatory - some positive news?
Published 9/1/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, Apparently the Mount Wilson Observatory survived the night. The web cam is still active and this morning did not show any damages on the mountain.  The director posted a very positive message on its blog as well [update: the blog was relocated at 6pm here].The situation remains still uncertain since the wild fire is very close to the top of the mountain as you can see on the web cam image taken at... 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 ❯