September 7, 2013
Help NASA Hunt For Exoplanets
NASA needs a little help in the movement to discover more exoplanets and is calling on citizen scientists to pick up where the broken-down Kepler telescope left off by participating in the Open Source Differential Photometry Code for Amateur Astronomy Research or, must easier to say, OSCAAR. What do you need? A telescope equipped with an electronic light detector, known as a charge-coupled device (CCD) and software capable of reading the output from the CCD with a computer. You’ll be looking for the dip in the light of a host star as a planet passes in front of it. But you’ll definitely be at a disadvantage compared to Kepler, which didn’t have to deal with the Earth’s atmosphere. NASA is being realistic saying there might not be ground-breaking results, but they hope that OSCAAR users will be inspired to take their exoplanet studies further after they get a taste for photometry.
[ Read the Article: Amateur Astronomers Could Be NASA’s New Hope For Planet Hunting ]