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Inviting Citizen Scientists to Observe Transiting Exoplanets
Exoplanet Watch is a citizen science project to observe transiting exoplanets, planets outside of our solar system, with small telescopes. A transiting exoplanet is one that periodically passes in front of its host star, causing the star to slightly dim (~1%). Observing exoplanet transits are important as they allow us to directly measure the planet's radius and composition.
Exoplanet Watch will:
- Ensure Efficient Use of Large Telescopes - more accurately predict the next transit event for follow-up with large telescope (e.g., HST, JWST, and ARIEL)
- Discover New Exoplanets - using transit timing variations to infer the existence of an additional exoplanet in a Extrasolar System
- Search for Blended Pairs - spatially-resolve a field to confirm the radius of a newly-discovered exoplanet
- Monitor Stellar Variability - spots and plages of a host star can alter the observed exoplanet's signal
- Confirm New Exoplanets - can help confirm newly-discovered exoplanets
Citizen scientists will observe their own transiting exoplanets reduce and analyze their own data, and then upload their results to the AAVSO Exoplanet Database to share their results with the professional exoplanet community. Exoplanet Watch will then analyze these data to help achieve the science goals above.
NASA's Universe of Learning materials are based upon work supported by NASA under award number NNX16AC65A to the Space Telescope Science Institute, working in partnership with Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Sonoma State University.