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Franck Marchis: Breaking the Seeing Barrier for Planetary Astronomy

Our solar system. Credit: NASA

Our solar system. Credit: NASA

In this SETI talks Franck Marchis discuss the contributions of telescopic observation over the past 50 years to planetary science, particularly the recent developments like adaptive optics which renewed interest in ground-based observations of planets.

When Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope toward Jupiter in 1609 and discovered what we now call the Galilean moons, he did not realized 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 the planets, the origin of comets and asteroids and the formation of our solar system.