Amateur Space Weekly - February 22

Amateur Space Weekly - February 22

Space archaeology, 21st Century shop class, quinoa curry, DIY radiation detector, astronomy tourism, crowdsourcing the search for gravitational waves and more in this week's recap from the world of amateur space exploration.

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Citizen scientists' roles change as Big Data sweeps astronomy

Crowdsourced projects like Galaxy Zoo and Mercury Mappers exist because amateurs combine strength in numbers with visual perception skills better than computer algorithms. But next-generation observatories will erode those strengths. The role of citizen scientists will change, but it will remain critical for the future of science.

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Spot stars exploding over Australia with Snapshot Supernova

Snapshot Supernova asks the world’s citizen scientists and armchair astronomers to help discover stars exploding over Australia. It’s the latest project form the Zooniverse crowdsourcing service. The Zooniverse’s co-founder and Oxford University astrophysicist Chris Lintott explained to me how the project evolved from earlier supernova-hunting projects to make its first supernova sighting within hours of the project’s launch.

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Planet Four crowdsources the Martian landscape

Study the way Mars changes with the seasons. Join over 100,000 amateur space explorers in the Planet Four project as they analyze high-resolution images sent back to Earth by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The catalog you help create will help scientists make better weather forecasts on Mars.

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mPing app crowdsources weather data

The mPing project lets amateur weather-watchers with Android or iOS smartphones collect ground-truth for professional meteorologists. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Oklahoma created the app because they needed a way to fill the gaps in weather radar coverage. Amateurs submitted over 250,000 observations during the winter of 2012-2013 alone.

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Planet Hunters, the crowdsourced search for exoplanets

 

Planet Hunters lets over 280,000 people around the world search for exoplanets - planets orbiting othe stars - in data from Nasa’s Kepler space telescope. These amateur exoplanet-hunters found four exoplanets and several more candidates that Kepler’s sophisticated software missed.

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