Request an Exoplanet Observation

Exoplanet Watch partners with the MicroObservatory's DIY Planet Search to obtain robotic telescope observations of transiting exoplanets for Exoplanet Watch participants who do not have their own telescope. MicroObservatory, managed by the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, is generously sharing ten years of archived transiting exoplanet observations with us so that you can participate in Exoplanet Watch.

Submit your email address below to check out a night's observation of an exoplanet transit taken by a robotic telescope. Once you have this data, follow the How to Analyze Your Data and How to Submit Your Data instructions in the links above

What's in a Name?

Where do the names of the exoplanets come from? What does the "b" mean?

Exoplanets are named after the telescope or survey that found them. The first exoplanet detected in a planetary system is given the name of the star it orbits, followed by a letter b. The next exoplanet in the system would be c, then d, etc. Here's a link that explains more about it: How do Exoplanets get their Names?

The name of the exoplanet you're studying can be found in the README file that accompanies the data you are given. The name of the star it orbits is the same as the name of the exoplanet, withouth the "b" at the end.

When you check out data, the observation is yours for two weeks. This means you have two weeks to process the data and upload the resulting light curve to the AAVSO. You will be the only person to receive this data set during this time. At the end of this period, we will email you to let you know your data has been reclaimed so that it can be reassigned to someone else who can use it if you haven't processed it by then. You can make data requests every two weeks if you want to make another light curve.

The exoplanet you will be studying is randomly selected for you, so you can't request data of a specific exoplanet.

As with any astronomical observation, some nights are clear and some nights are cloudy. We can't guarantee that the data set you get will be from a clear night. If you get what you think is a cloudy data set, try to process it anyway. Even partially cloudy data sets can provide valuable results. If the sky is completely clouded over, come back in two weeks and request another data set. Hopefully it will be from a clearer night.

Your data set will include 2-4 images with "darks" in the filename. If the darks files aren't in a separate folder, please move them to a folder and name that folder darks. If they're in a folder called cal, please rename the cal folder darks.

If you're having trouble finding the name of your exoplanet or the name of your target star, start by reading the README file that comes with your dataset. If that doesn't work, post the name of your first data file on our Slack, and our team can help you with the name of your exoplanet and target star.

By submitting your email for a data request, you are agreeing to being contacted for future project evaluation purposes. If you are under 13 you will need to get a parent or guardian's email to use this service.

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