Jean-Luc Margot

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Jean-Luc Margot (born 1969) is a Belgian-born astronomer and a UCLA professor who specializes in planetary sciences.



Binary asteroids discovered
Name Date of discovery Telescope
(87) Sylvia I Romulus[1] Feb 18, 2001 Keck II Adaptive Optics
(22) Kalliope I Linus[1] Aug 29, 2001 Keck II Adaptive Optics
S/2003 (379) 1 Aug 14, 2003 Keck II Adaptive Optics
(69230) Hermes binary Oct 18, 2003 Arecibo Planetary Radar
(702) Alauda I Pichi üñëm[2] Jul 26, 2007 VLT Adaptive Optics
1 with Michael E. Brown
2 with Patricio Rojo

Margot has discovered and studied several binary asteroids with radar and optical telescopes. In 2000, he obtained the first images of binary near-Earth asteroids and described formation of the binary by a spin-up process.[1] Margot and his research group have studied the influence of sunlight on the orbits and spins of asteroids, the Yarkovsky and YORP effects.[2][3]


In 2007, Margot and collaborators determined that Mercury has a molten core from the analysis of small variations in the spin rate of the planet.[4] These observations also enabled a measurement of the size of the core based on a concept proposed by Stan Peale.[5][6]


In 2012, Margot and graduate student Julia Fang analyzed Kepler data to infer the architecture of planetary systems.[7] They described planetary systems as "flatter than pancakes."[8] They also showed that many planetary systems are dynamically packed.[9]

Honors and awards[edit]

Margot was awarded the H. C. Urey Prize by the American Astronomical Society in 2004. The asteroid 9531 Jean-Luc is named after him.


  1. ^ Margot, Jean-Luc; et al. (2002). "Binary Asteroids in the Near-Earth Object Population". Science 296 (5572): 1445–1448. Bibcode:2002Sci...296.1445M. doi:10.1126/science.1072094. PMID 11951001. 
  2. ^ Nugent, C. R.; Margot, J. L.; Chesley, S. R.; Vokrouhlický, D. (2012). "Detection of Semimajor Axis Drifts in 54 Near-Earth Asteroids: New Measurements of the Yarkovsky Effect". The Astronomical Journal 144 (2): 60. arXiv:1204.5990. Bibcode:2012AJ....144...60N. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/144/2/60. 
  3. ^ Taylor, Patrick; et al. (2007). "Spin Rate of Asteroid (54509) 2000 PH5 Increasing due to the YORP Effect". Science 316: 274–277. Bibcode:2007Sci...316..274T. doi:10.1126/science.1139038. .
  4. ^ Margot, Jean-Luc; et al. (2007). "Large longitude libration of Mercury reveals a molten core". Science 316 (5825): 710–714. Bibcode:2007Sci...316..710M. doi:10.1126/science.1140514. PMID 17478713. 
  5. ^ Peale, S. J. (1976). "Does Mercury have a molten core?". Nature 262 (5571): 765–766. Bibcode:1976Natur.262..765P. doi:10.1038/262765a0. 
  6. ^ Margot, Jean-Luc; et al. (2012). "Mercury's moment of inertia from spin and gravity data". Journal of Geophysical Research 117. Bibcode:2012JGRE..117.0L09M. doi:10.1029/2012JE004161. 
  7. ^ Fang, Julia; Margot, Jean-Luc (2012). "Architecture of Planetary Systems Based on Kepler Data: Number of Planets and Coplanarity". The Astrophysical Journal 761 (2): 92. arXiv:1207.5250. Bibcode:2012ApJ...761...92F. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/761/2/92. ISSN 0004-637X. 
  8. ^ "Most Alien Solar Systems Are 'Flatter Than Pancakes'". 
  9. ^ Fang, Julia; Margot, Jean-Luc (2013). "Are Planetary Systems Filled to Capacity? A Study Based On Kepler Results". The Astrophysical Journal 767 (2): 115. arXiv:1302.7190. Bibcode:2013ApJ...767..115F. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/767/2/115. ISSN 0004-637X. 

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