Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Citizen Science - Disk Detective

We discuss cool science research regularly here, but today I want to focus on doing science as a lay person or "citizen science."

Interested in space and finding new planetary systems? Then, check out DiskDective.org where you can be part of a NASA and Zooinverse crowdsourcing project whose main goal is to publish scientific results from data collected from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), the Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS).


Well, planets are created from immense clouds of dust, gas, and rock that swirl about a common center of gravity to form "debris disks" around a star. The rotating debris, from an angstrom up to a centimeter in size, come together in the disk to form planets.

Identifying these disks and possible planets takes computer and people power. You can help search for likely debris disks at the Disk Dectective website. The tutorial is simple and explains everything from how to know what you are looking at to how to compare images from different space scans. It's more fun than a video game and you are doing real science. Give it a try and let me know how you do. 

Find more citizen science projects on a variety of topics listed here, here, and here. Definitely something for everyone. Go science!