fig 1 vignetteTo date, despite the huge number of exoplanet discoveries, the formation and properties of giant planets remains a mystery. Giant exoplanets sculpt young exoplanetary systems, and might determine whether smaller Earth-like planets could be capable of harboring life. The observation and characterization of the properties of young exoplanets is crucial to help scientists to understand what giant exoplanets are made of, how they differ from Jupiter and Saturn, and how they formed.

The success of the GRAVITY interferometric instrument on the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), in particular with results of the confirmation of general relativity in strong regime which it provided on the black hole of our galaxy, SgrA*, led to the start of a project of instrumental and infrastructure improvements in order to extend this level of performance to the field of the exoplanets (high contrast adaptive optics) and to extragalactic astrophysics (laser guide stars) ; it is the GRAVITY+ project and mainly concerns the improvement of the performance of the adaptive optics of the VLTI. The Gravity+ consortium, composed of MPE, CNRS (through LESIA, IPAG, Lagrange & CRAL), MPIA, University of Cologne, CENTRA laboratory, Southampton University as well as ESO, has been working for 3 years on the design and the realization of 4 identical adaptive optics systems which will replace the MACAO systems, more than 20 years old. MPE is the prime contractor and responsible for the manufacturing of the wavefront sensors for natural and laser guide stars; LESIA is in charge of the realization of the real time computer and IPAG, in collaboration with ALPAO are developing the wavefront correction device (deformable mirror with 41x41 actuators). OCA is in charge of the integration of these components on an optical bench which reproduces the VLT's Coudé beam. 

Vignette SoleilWhat is the origin of the air we breathe, of the water in our seas and oceans, where does daylight come from, why is there a terrestrial climate, why are there auroras, why...? The answer lies in the sky. The stars are a great supplier of chemical elements, and our Sun is the source of life. Since time immemorial, man has been concerned with knowing more and more about the stars, their movement, their size, their composition... Thus, astronomy was born informing us about the celestial stars. These are described by various characteristics, mass, diameter, rotation, temperature, chemical composition, etc... to which are added the place of this body in the universe, its history, and even, in the case of the sun, its repercussions on the history of humanity.

Eloisa pioggio voielactee vignetteThe spiral arms of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, have a significant impact on the chemical composition of stars. This result, newly discovered, plays a fundamental role in the study of our Galaxy and the chemical elements composing not only the stars, but also the Earth and the living beings. The study leading to this conclusion has been carried out by a team of researchers from the Côte d’Azur Observatory – Côte d’Azur University-CNRS (Nice, France) and from the Torino Observatory (Italy). This team has been led by Eloisa Poggio, an Italian scientist working at the Côte d’Azur Observatory funded by a European Marie-Curie postdoctoral grant.

comet interceptor vignetteThe Comet Interceptor space mission has been approved by the European Space Agency (ESA) to be the next mission to explore the solar system. Developed in collaboration with the Japanese space agency (JAXA), several national space agencies and research centres in Europe, including CNES and CNRS, Comet Interceptor will be the first space mission to visit a comet from the farthest reaches of the Solar System, or even outside the Solar System. A unique feature of this space mission will be that it will stand by the Solar System before merging with the comet. Such a comet will only be discovered in a few years' time and potentially after Comet Interceptor leaves Earth. In Nice, the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur is playing a major role in this mission.

pia24472 psyche asteroid illustration 16 0In its visit to Psyche, NASA hopes to glimpse the center of the Earth. NASA’s mission to the solar system's largest metallic asteroid promises to show us the iron-nickel core of a dead planet. New research, however, hints that this asteroid is much more. The article was written by Megan I. Gannon for the journal Popular Science. Guy Libourel, professor at the Université Côte d'Azur, and Mark Wieczorek, senior scientist CNRS, lagrange laboratory (CNRS-UCA-OCA) have contributed to this research.

vignette VH GK 012022An international team of researchers including astrophysicists from the Observatoire astronomique de Strasbourg, the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur and the Observatoire de Paris discovered the remnants of a star cluster whose stars share a uniquely low fraction of elements heavier than Hydrogen and Helium. As successive generations of stars enrich with heavy elements the interstellar gas from which future stars are born, this cluster must have been formed from very early generations of stars and provides a remarkable relic from a time when the very first stellar structures were assembling. It was not known that star clusters with such pristine stars existed — some theories even hypothesized they could not form at all, others that they would have all vanished by now — which makes this a key discovery for our understanding of how stars form in the early Universe.

vignette universcityThe UniversCity telescope, whose construction is being finalized at Plateau de Calern, was used to obtain scientific data on occultations for the first time on July 10, 2021, by a remote observer. Both observations (the first one in the early hours of that day, the second on the following night), turned out to be positive thus producing useful measurements. They concerned the asteroids (2207) Antenor and (884) Priamus, trojans of Jupiter and selected targets of the Lucky Star project (https://lesia.obspm.fr/lucky-star/index.php).

eau lune vignetteThe moons of planets that have no parent star can possess an atmosphere and retain liquid water. Astrophysicists from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, University of Concepción in Chile, Lagrange Laboratory, and University of Tokyo have calculated that such systems could harbor sufficient water to make life possible – and sustain it.

Lagrange laboratory is recruiting an engineer in Software engineering.

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