Citizen Scientists

Public Contribution to the Scientific Community

SETI@Home is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a free programme that downloads and analyses radio telescope data. Basically you do not need to do anything; the programme will just run in the background while you do your work.

Einstein@Home is a program that uses your computer’s idle time to search for gravitational waves from spinning neutron stars (pulsars) using data from the LIGO gravitational wave detector. It also searches for radio pulsars in binary systems, using data from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO): observe variable stars and send your data to the Headquarters, where they are checked, processed, and added to the AAVSO International Database. The AAVSO and its observers frequently provide the professional community with archival data, intensive monitoring of interesting variable stars, and target-of-opportunity event notification for coordinated observing campaigns and satellite observations.

Be a Martian: you will help to improve Martian maps, take part in research tasks, and assist Mars science teams studying data about the Red Planet. You can match detailed images of Martian features with wider panoramas or count the Martian craters, which could help to determine the relative ages of small regions on Mars.

Stardust@Home: on January 15, 2006, the Stardust spacecraft’s sample return capsule parachuted gently onto the Utah desert. Nestled within the capsule were precious particles collected during Stardust’s dramatic encounter with comet Wild 2 and tiny particles of interstellar dust that originated in distant stars. You can help the scientists by searching the images for these tiny interstellar dust impacts.

Zooniverse: the Zooniverse is home to the internet’s largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects. Current projects include:

Moon Zoo: explore the Moon in unprecedented detail using images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

Galaxy Zoo-Hubble: help astronomers figure out how galaxies form and evolve by classifying their shape. Now with added Hubble galaxies.

Galaxy Zoo-Mergers: understanding what happens when galaxies merge is one of the most important questions in astronomy. Help astronomers by trying to match a merger from SDSS with a simulation.

Galaxy Zoo-Supernovae: catch an exploding star. Astronomers are following up on your best candidates at telescopes around the world.

Solar Stormwatch: help spot explosions on the Sun and track them across space to Earth. Your work will give astronauts an early warning if dangerous solar radiation is headed their way.

Planet Hunters: find planets around stars. The Kepler spacecraft stares at a field of stars in the Cygnus constellation and records the brightness of those stars every thirty minutes to search for transiting planets. Light curve changes can indicate transiting planets.

The Milky Way Project: how do stars form? Help to find and draw circles on infrared image data from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Understanding the material that we see in these images helps scientists learn how stars form and how our galaxy changes and evolves with time.

CosmoQuest: this is the place where you map other worlds, explore our universe, and contribute to science. Current projects include:

Moon Mappers: identify craters and other interesting phenomena in actual images of the Moon. Help us get to know our Moon better!

Ice Investigators: look for asteroids and transient space objects. Your observations will help to direct the New Horizon spacecraft. We will search for the final target of the New Horizon Mission – the NASA probe that is on a journey that will take it past Pluto and on to icy bodies in the outer edges of the Solar System.

One Response to “Citizen Scientists”

  1. […] also added a new page called Citizen Scientist where you, as a general public, can contribute to the astronomy world. Go and start playing […]

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