NASA Needs Your Help For A Once-In-A-Lifetime Discovery

NASA and UC Berkeley announced that they need public to help them hunt certain planets and fade stars around our solar system. The cool thing about it, you won't have to leave the comfort of your living room.

NASA recently launched a new website, Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 that will allow public to explore space for different objects.

But now, people are being invited to go through data collected by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and locate Planet 9.

Consequently, it was renamed the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE).

Scientists have long believed there to be a ninth planet in our solar system, due to some theories that involve science and numbers and gravitational pulls.

So the best hope for discovering these worlds is to systematically scan infrared images of the sky, searching for objects that move.

WISE took the image covering a large area of the sky that helped astronomers detect faint stars that shift their position from time to time.

If you see anything that stands out, flag the object. If an object looks like it's moving, it could be a planet.

A new planet hasn't been discovered (excluding ex-planet Pluto) since Neptune in 1846.

This hypothetical Planet 9 could be similar in size to Neptune, but it may orbit up to a thousand times farther away from the sun than the Earth does. These "failed stars" are basically objects that are too big to be considered planets, but too small to be stars.

Join the search for new worlds in the outer reaches of our solar system and in nearby interstellar space at Backyard Worlds: Planet 9. While parts of this search can be done by computers, machines are often overwhelmed by image artifacts, especially in crowded parts of the sky.

A previously cataloged brown dwarf named WISE 0855?0714 shows up as a moving orange dot (upper left) in this loop of WISE images spanning five years. But, WISE images can help scientists detect even the faintest stars.

Pluto used to be the ninth planet before its demotion to dwarf planet status 10 years ago.

These are short animations that show how small patches of the sky changed over several years.

This will then be prioritized by the science team, so it can be further investigated by professional astronomers.

Besides Arizona State University, Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 is a collaboration between NASA, University of California Berkeley, American Museum of Natural History in NY, the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, and the Zooniverse, a collaboration of scientists, software developers and educators who collectively develop and manage citizen science projects on the internet. Participants will share credit for their discoveries in any scientific publications that results from the project.

Participants in the citizen scientist project are being asked to look for false positives, artifacts that look like real objects in the solar system, according to the Zooniverse website hosting Backyard Worlds.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages and operates WISE for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.



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