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

Jean-Luc Margot
Born1969 (age 49–50)
Alma materCornell University (Ph.D. 1999)
Universite Catholique de Louvain (B.S. 1993)
AwardsH. C. Urey Prize
Scientific career
Fieldsplanetary physics, astrophysics
Doctoral advisorDonald B. Campbell



Margot has discovered and studied several binary asteroids with radar and optical telescopes. His discoveries include (87) Sylvia I Romulus, (22) Kalliope I Linus, S/2003 (379) 1, (702) Alauda I Pichi üñëm, and the binary nature of (69230) Hermes.

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 space telescope 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]

Since 2016, he has guided UCLA students in conducting searches for technosignatures with large radio telescopes.[13][14]

Honors and awardsEdit

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. 11 April 2002.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Prediction Proved: Light Speeds Up an Asteroid as it Spins". New York Times. 13 March 2007.
  4. ^ Taylor, Patrick; et al. (2007). "Spin Rate of Asteroid (54509) 2000 PH5 Increasing due to the YORP Effect". Science. 316 (5822): 274–277. Bibcode:2007Sci...316..274T. doi:10.1126/science.1139038. PMID 17347415..
  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. arXiv:1204.5990. Bibcode:2012AJ....144...60N. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/144/2/60.
  6. ^ "Mercury's spin reveals molten, not solid core". Reuters. 3 May 2007.
  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. doi:10.1126/science.1140514. PMID 17478713.
  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: n/a. 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. arXiv:1207.5250. Bibcode:2012ApJ...761...92F. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/761/2/92. ISSN 0004-637X.
  11. ^ "Most Alien Solar Systems Are 'Flatter Than Pancakes'". 15 October 2012.
  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. arXiv:1302.7190. Bibcode:2013ApJ...767..115F. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/767/2/115. ISSN 0004-637X.
  13. ^ "Researchers Just Scanned 14 Worlds From the Kepler Mission for "Technosignatures", Evidence of Advanced Civilizations". Universe Today. 15 February 2018.
  14. ^ Margot, Jean-Luc; Greenberg, Adam H.; Pinchuk, Pavlo; Shinde, Akshay; Alladi, Yashaswi; MN, Srinivas Prasad; Bowman, M. Oliver; Fisher, Callum; Gyalay, Szilard; McKibbin, Willow; Miles, Brittany; Nguyen, Donald; Power, Conor; Ramani, Namrata; Raviprasad, Rashmi; Santana, Jesse; Lynch, Ryan S. (2018). "A Search for Technosignatures from 14 Planetary Systems in the Kepler Field with the Green Bank Telescope at 1.15–1.73 GHz". The Astronomical Journal. 155 (5): 209. arXiv:1802.01081. Bibcode:2018AJ....155..209M. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/aabb03. ISSN 1538-3881.

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