Jean-Luc Margot

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Jean-Luc Margot
Born 1969 (age 47–48)
Leuven, Belgium
Fields planetary physics, astrophysics
Institutions UCLA
Alma mater Cornell University (Ph.D. 1999)
Universite Catholique de Louvain (B.S. 1993)
Doctoral advisor Donald B. Campbell
Notable awards H. C. Urey Prize

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

Research interests[edit]


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][2] Margot and his research group have studied the influence of sunlight on the orbits and spins of asteroids, the Yarkovsky and YORP effects.[3][4][5]


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.[6][7] These observations also enabled a measurement of the size of the core based on a concept proposed by Stan Peale.[8][9]


In 2012, Margot and graduate student Julia Fang analyzed Kepler data to infer the architecture of planetary systems.[10] They described planetary systems as "flatter than pancakes."[11] They also showed that many planetary systems are dynamically packed.[12]

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. ^ "Some Asteroids Have Astronomers Seeing Double". JPL press release. 2002-04-11. 
  2. ^ Margot, Jean-Luc; et al. (2002). "Binary Asteroids in the Near-Earth Object Population". Science. 296 (5572): 1445–1448. Bibcode:2002Sci...296.1445M. PMID 11951001. doi:10.1126/science.1072094. 
  3. ^ "Prediction Proved: Light Speeds Up an Asteroid as it Spins". New York Times. 2007-03-13. 
  4. ^ 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. PMID 17347415. doi:10.1126/science.1139038. .
  5. ^ 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. Bibcode:2012AJ....144...60N. arXiv:1204.5990Freely accessible. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/144/2/60. 
  6. ^ "Mercury's spin reveals molten, not solid core". Reuters. 2007-05-03. 
  7. ^ Margot, Jean-Luc; et al. (2007). "Large longitude libration of Mercury reveals a molten core". Science. 316 (5825): 710–714. Bibcode:2007Sci...316..710M. PMID 17478713. doi:10.1126/science.1140514. 
  8. ^ Peale, S. J. (1976). "Does Mercury have a molten core?". Nature. 262 (5571): 765–766. Bibcode:1976Natur.262..765P. doi:10.1038/262765a0. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ 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. Bibcode:2012ApJ...761...92F. ISSN 0004-637X. arXiv:1207.5250Freely accessible. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/761/2/92. 
  11. ^ "Most Alien Solar Systems Are 'Flatter Than Pancakes'". 2012-10-15. 
  12. ^ Fang, Julia; Margot, Jean-Luc (2013). "Are Planetary Systems Filled to Capacity? A Study Based On Kepler Results". The Astrophysical Journal. 767 (2): 115. Bibcode:2013ApJ...767..115F. ISSN 0004-637X. arXiv:1302.7190Freely accessible. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/767/2/115. 

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