Want to find a new planet? NASA is giving you a chance. NASA has invited citizens of the world to assist in its search for the ninth planet.
Anyone from a kid of kindergarten to a 95-year-old, can participate in this project to discover the celestial body. In order to facilitate participation by general public, Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, a NASA funded venture by the Zooniverse space has been launched.
"There are really low barriers to entry," Dr. Laura Trouille of Zooniverse. Trouille said that NASA has compiled a "flipbook" of short animations that shows sky scans taken over several years.
As of now, 4,201 people have joined the mission. The participants are expected to search for disruptions in the images to detect signs of a planet. The disruptions include, clusters of tiny coloured dots, the findings that are known to be signs of a planet.
NASA aims to pinpoint real moving celestial objects which will later be discussed in an online bulletin board. The "flipbooks" compiled during a mission by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) will be used for this project.
The participants will have to sift through images captured by the infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope which can detect darker objects that are farther away. The telescope has captured a broad area of about four light-years between Neptune and the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, which receives very little sunlight. The lack of sunlight means that the objects present in this area cannot reflect light and are thus very difficult to find.
But if it was all about sifting through images, why not use a computer program to do that.