New Scheme Lets Public Help NASA Detect Alien Worlds
When the Kepler Space Telescope launched back in 2009, it set out on a mission to scour the galaxy for exoplanets. Now, with Kepler's planet hunting mission at an end, a new NASA scheme is turning to amateur astronomers to help them in the hunt for alien worlds. The Open Source Differential Photometry Code for Amateur Astronomy Research (OSCAAR) will allow amateur astronomers scour the skies to look for faint dips in the intensity of a star's glow, which can potentially be caused by planets in orbit.
To become part of the program and make some potentially ground-breaking discoveries, all you need is a telescope equipped with a CCD electronic light detector and computer with which to access the open source software, which can be downloaded here.
Your success will of course be dependent on the usual astronomy variables such as the quality of your telescope and how dark the skies around you are, so don't expect to find anything if your search is based in New York City. However, city dwellers can still have an impact on this exciting new scheme. The team behind the program aren't just looking for people to search the skies, they are also looking for those who can make improvements to the actual software.