|Posted: 2010-December-16 at 11:30pm | IP Logged
is another of the "citizen science" sites, like Galaxy Zoo (where
participants identify galaxies from images) and Moon Zoo (where
participants identify and catalogue craters on the moon) - it literally
just went online a few hours ago. This time, you're looking through
Kepler science data looking for tell-tale dips in brightness caused by
planets transiting across the face of the target stars! (the Kepler
spacecraft basically stares at a fixed point in the sky containing
hundreds of thousands of stars, and it monitors the brightness of all
of them, looking out for dips caused by transiting planets).
They're still ironing out the kinks in their
discussion forums, but the planet-searching part is working fine. It
does take a while to get used to the brightness graphs, but you get the
hang of it eventually. I've already found a couple of known transiting
planets (it tells you whether it's a "Kepler Favourite" or not, which
presumably means it's a known planetary system), correctly identified a
simulated planet around a giant star (they throw some simulated data in
occasionally to check that you're finding things properly!), and I might
actually have found a planet orbiting an actual giant star (can't tell until I discuss it with others though!).
pretty damn awesome. I think this is the most exciting "Citizen
Science" project by far and it's free to sign up, so give it a go!
The Worldbuilding Hub