René Duffard

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Hitherto, rings have been found exclusively around the four giant planets in the Solar System. Rings are natural laboratories in which to study dynamical processes analogous to those that take place during the formation of planetary systems and galaxies. Their presence also tells us about the origin and evolution of the body they encircle. Here we report(More)
We propose that several short-duration events observed in past stellar occultations by Chiron were produced by ring material. Some similarities between these events and the characteristics of Chariklo’s rings could indicate common mechanisms around centaurs. From a reanalysis of the stellar occultation data in the literature, we determined two possible(More)
The dwarf planet Eris is a trans-Neptunian object with an orbital eccentricity of 0.44, an inclination of 44 degrees and a surface composition very similar to that of Pluto. It resides at present at 95.7 astronomical units (1 AU is the Earth-Sun distance) from Earth, near its aphelion and more than three times farther than Pluto. Owing to this great(More)
We present a summary of the campaign of remote observations that supported the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission. Telescopes across the globe (and in space) followed comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from before Rosetta's arrival until nearly the end of the mission in September 2016. These provided essential data for mission planning, large-scale(More)
Over one thousand objects have so far been discovered orbiting beyond Neptune. These trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) represent the primitive remnants of the planetesimal disk from which the planets formed and are perhaps analogous to the unseen dust parent-bodies in debris disks observed around other main-sequence stars. The dynamical and physical properties(More)
In anticipation of theDawnMission to 4Vesta,we conducted a ground-based campaign of Bessel BVRI filter photometry of five V-type near-Earth asteroids over a wide range of solar phase angles. We also obtained medium-resolution optical spectroscopy (0.38 lm < k < 0.92 lm; R 500) of sixteen near-Earth andmainbelt V-type asteroids in order to investigate their(More)
Pluto's tenuous nitrogen atmosphere was first detected by the imprint left on the light curve of a star that was occulted by the planet in 1985 (ref. 1), and studied more extensively during a second occultation event in 1988 (refs 2-6). These events are, however, quite rare and Pluto's atmosphere remains poorly understood, as in particular the planet has(More)
Aims. The identification of other basaltic objects in the asteroid belt is mandatory to explain the diversity in the collection of basaltic meteorites. This diversity requires more than one differentiated parent body, a fact that is consistent with the diversity of differentiated parent bodies implied by the iron meteorites. Methods. Based on a list of(More)
Pluto and Eris are icy dwarf planets with nearly identical sizes, comparable densities and similar surface compositions as revealed by spectroscopic studies. Pluto possesses an atmosphere whereas Eris does not; the difference probably arises from their differing distances from the Sun, and explains their different albedos. Makemake is another icy dwarf(More)
We present several lines of evidence, based on different kinds of observations, and we conclude that it is likely that rotational fission has occurred for a fraction of the known trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). It is also likely that a number of binary systems have formed from that process in the trans-Neptunian belt. We show that Haumea is, potentially, an(More)