Antoine Mérand

Antoine Mérand


About Me

I am an astronomer who has worked in various observatories enabling and performing astronomical research with optical interferometry. My research interests can be summarised as "measuring stars". It means measuring their fundamental parameters, such as size, mass, distance etc. My focus is doing that with the highest precision and accuracy. I am also eager to give back to the community, by my day-to-day work at the observatories, but also by directly sharing my experience and knowlege.

Publications & Software

My publications' list on the Astrophysics Data System, based on my ORCID 0000-0003-2125-0183.

PMOIRED Parametric modeling of astronomical spectro-interferometric data stored in the OIFITS format. It has flexible linear combination of components, modeling of spectral lines, as well as advanced features such as telluric correction, grid search, bootstrapping, etc. This code is still under development, contact me if you are using it!
CANDID analyses optical interferometric data to detect or put upper limit on faint companion around stars. It has been used in many refereed publications
SPIPS is a parallax of pulsation code for Cepheids using synthetic observations. It has been used in many refereed publications.
GRAVIQL is a quick look for VLTI GRAVITY reduced data. This code is no longer maintained: use PMOIRED instead.
CONFTIMER is a micropython code to implement a conference timer on a micro:bit microcontroller.

Work Experience

VLTI Programme Scientist

2017 - Present, European Southern Observatory's Headquarters (Germany)

Working under ESO Director for Science, I oversee the strategic developments of Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). I ensure the facility is best exploited, engage the community, and establish scientific priorities for the present and the future.

Operations Astronomer and System Scientist for the VLTI

2008 - 2017, European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory (Chile)

I supported observations at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). Instrument Scientist for AMBER (2008-2010) and PRIMA (2010-2013). Starting in 2012, I doubled as System Scientist for the VLTI and was responsible the operational performances. I commissioned new systems, performed operators' training, and advised the observatory director and head of operations on VLTI matters.

Research Associate

2006 - 2008, CHARA Array Interferometer (California)

I participated in the development of the CHARA Array, operated by Georgia State University. I integrated a PICNIC infrared detector for the FLUOR instrument, and participated in the PAVO instrument construction. I also supported observations with the FLUOR instrument, which I integrated during my PhD.


PhD in Astrophysics and Instrumentation

2002-2005, Paris Observatory (France)

My thesis work was entitled "High angular resolution studies of Cepheids", which I realised under the supervision of Vincent Coudé Du Foresto and Marie-José Goupil. I installed and commissioned the FLUOR interferometric beam combiner at the CHARA Array. I adapted the control, data reduction and calibration software for the new environment. I obtained the most accurate interferometric observations of Cepheids pulsating stars and fast rotating stars. Degree obtained with honours.

Master in Theoretical Physics

1999-2002, Paris University (France)

I attended the physics classes at École Normale Supérieure de Paris, as a university student. My major was in Astrophysics. My master research project was on modeling interferometric data of Mira stars, at NOAO in Tucson (Arizona), with Steve Ridgway, collaborating with Guy Perrin (Paris Obs.) and Bertrand Mennesson (JPL).

Classe Préparatoire Scientifique

1997-1999, Lycée Clemenceau de Nantes (France)

I prepared for the entrance examination for engineering and high education schools. I majored in math, with minors in physics and computer science.