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AD Stories: Patrick Michel on Collaboration in Astronomy

6 Jul 2017, 12:59 UTC
AD Stories: Patrick Michel on Collaboration in Astronomy
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AD Stories is heading to France today where Patrick Michel leads the “Theories and Observations in Planetology” team at the Lagrange Laboratory of the Côte d’Azur Observatory in Nice. Patrick shared an anecdote with us that serves as the perfect example for international cooperation and collaboration between astronomers – an aspect that particularly fascinates him in his job and drives his passion for asteroids.
Patrick Michel
In 2008, Patrick Michel published a paper in Nature with two collaborators, Kevin Walsh and Derek Richardson, explaining how a small binary asteroid formed and why the primary one usually has an oblate spheroidal shape found in radar observations. They used radar observations of binary asteroid 1999KW4 for this study. Afterwards each one of them received a model of 1999KW4 in our mail box, sent by Steven J. Ostro, the father of asteroid radar observations. They felt very honoured that the author of the shape determination would think of sending them a model of his discovery. A few months later, Steve would die from cancer. But this little gesture demonstrated the recognition and respect astronomers have from each other, when one finds an explanation for something observed by somebody else. All working for the ...

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