. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which launched in 2018, has snapped hundreds of thousands images of the night sky using its four cameras in the hopes of finding exoplanets. That’s too much data for professional astronomers to pore over, and NASA doesn’t trust computer-vision algorithms to do all the work, so they’ve decided to look to the public for help.
“Automated methods of processing TESS data sometimes fail to catch imposters that look like exoplanets,” said project leader Veselin Kostov, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and the SETI Institute. “The human eye is extremely good at spotting such imposters, and we need citizen scientists to help us distinguish between the look-alikes and genuine planets.”
“Planet Hunters TESS asks volunteers to look at light curves, which are graphs of stars’ brightness over time,” Marc Kuchner, the citizen science officer for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, noted. “Planet Patrol asks them to look at the TESS image directly, although we plan to also include light curves for those images in the future.”
You can get cracking right here.