Lecture: 17 Feb “Breaking Seeing Barriers for Planetary Astronomy” by Franck Marchis, PhD

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS LECTURE WILL BE HELD AT OUR NEW VENUE, THE SAN FRANCISCO PRESIDIO, OBSERVATION POST / BUILDING 211 – TIMING SCHEDULES REMAIN THE SAME WITH SNACKS AT 7:30 PM, SFAA MEETING AT 7:45 PM, LECTURE AT 8:00 PM

When Galileo pointed his telescope toward Jupiter in 1609, and discovered what we now call the Galilean moons, he did not realize that he had just established a new research field in astronomy. In the past four centuries, planetary astronomy, the study of our solar system bodies using telescopes, has increased our knowledge of the environment of Earth, the evolution of planets, the origin of comets and asteroids and the formation of our solar system.
Marchis will discuss the contributions of telescopic observation over the past 50 years, and look to the future of space-based astronomy, particularly for the search and study of exoplanets, planets around other stars in our galaxy. He will explore the most recent discoveries.

Franck Marchis is currently a Principal Investigator at the SETI Institute. He received his Ph.D. in 2000 from university of Toulouse, France in planetary science. Although his thesis was performed while living in several places: Mexico, France, Great-Britain, the main part of his studies were made while working at La Silla observatory in Chile for the European Southern Observatory. He participated in the development of observations with the first adaptive optics system available to a large community (called ADONIS on the 3.6m telescope). He moved to California shortly after receiving his Ph.D. in November 2000 through a postdoctoral position at UC Berkeley. Since then, he has dedicated most of his activity monitoring Io’s volcanism with the Keck-10m telescope. In 2003, he was hired as an assistant researcher at UC Berkeley to conduct his research more independently. In 2007, he was appointed as a Planetary Scientist at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute where he expanded his research on multiple asteroids using space-telescope facilities (HST, Spitzer telescope) and participating to development of space mission concepts to explore these new worlds. In June 2011, he took a full-time position at the Carl Sagan Center to lead the development of space mission concepts and new high-resolution & high contrast instruments for ground-based telescopes. He has also taught on several occasions “The Planets” class at UC-Berkeley (Astro 12). He is an associate astronomer at Observatoire de Paris since June 2003.

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