Home Forums RAC Main Forum General Discussion NASA Exoplanet Watch Citizen Science project

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    John Martin

      I attended an exoplanet lecture yesterday put on for the Solar System Ambassadors about the latest exoplanet findings and part of this lecture touched on a topic that might be of interest to some of you. I mention this because the presenter (Rob Zellem) is doing a deep dive into this topic at an upcoming Night Sky Network on Feb 23rd that we are all invited to as a Night Sky Network affiliated club.

      The topic is about amateur astronomers contributing to the Exoplanet Watch project either with their own telescopes or by downloading and crunching image data using software that JPL provides (or your own). No telescope is needed to participate!. Speaking of telescopes, the speaker mentioned that participants have telescopes as small as 3.5 inch. At a very high level, stars that are suspected or known to have exoplanet transits are observed by you and the image data is crunched and sent back to NASA for use.

      Randy, in a demo transit study it was noted that 9 of the 22 telescopes that participated in the study of a particular transit were Unistellar eVscopes.

      Regardless of how you participate, if your efforts are used in a transit study and the results are published, you will be listed as a co-author on the publication.

      At a high level, and please forgive me if it turns out that I got some of this wrong:

      With a telescope:
      Sign up (free)
      Enter your location
      Select from a selection of stars that are observable from your location. These stars are suspected or known to have exoplanet transits.
      Record images of the star with your telescope and camera
      Crunch the images using the free software package
      Upload the processed data to the NASA Exoplanet Watch database.

      Without a telescope:
      Sign up (free)
      Check out a chunk of raw data
      Crunch the images using one of several free software packages on your home PC
      Upload the processed data to the NASA Exoplanet Watch database.

      Exoplanet Watch information: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/exoplanet-watch/about-exoplanet-watch/overview/

      Night Sky Network Webinar Link: https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/news-display.cfm?News_ID=707

      Feb 23rd at 8 PM Central Time
      Note: as NSN members, we can join the Zoom meeting and ask questions. The general public can watch the recorded webinar via YouTube after the event.
      Kirk usually sends these webinars out, sorry to jump the gun!

      You might have questions about this and to be honest, you would probably be wasting your time asking me ;). The topic was only covered at a very high level and I have never done any kind of astrophotography. If you have questions or an interest in participating, you can watch the free webinar above on the 23rd. There is a Q&A at the end of the session. I will be attending and can try to answer questions afterwards if you are unable to attend.

      John Martin

        I forgot to mention that you do not need a large telescope to participate. The speaker said that some of the participants use telescopes as small as 3.5″

        • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by John Martin.
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