Australian Citizen Scientist Discovers Four Planets While Watching TV Show

Posted: Apr 8 2017, 10:54am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 8 2017, 11:00am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Australian Citizen Scientist Discovers Four Planets While Watching TV Show
Oxford University physicist Professor Chris Lintott shows a newly identified planet.Source:Supplied

Newly discovered planets are orbiting around a sun-like star 600 light years away

You do not need to be a professional astronomer to find new worlds in the outskirts of universe. A common person can contribute in such discoveries while staying in his house and without using telescope.

An Australian citizen scientist has just made a remarkable discovery and detected a sun-like star surround by four planets.

Andrew Grey, a 26-year-old from Darwin, participated in ABC’s Stargazing Live broadcast, which also featured British physicist Brian Cox and many other volunteers. During the broadcast, viewers were encouraged to join in the search for exoplanets by identifying certain characteristics. Using data collected by Kepler space telescope and distributed through the Zooniverse website, more than 10,000 viewers classified unmapped parts of the skies and ended up finding many potential candidates, including four “Super Earth” planets. These planets are about double the size of Earth and orbiting a star in the Aquarius constellation 600 light years away.

“The first night I jumped on I believe it was about until 12:30. I catalogued 1,000 on the first night, so I punched a few out.” Andrew Grey told Stargazing Live after the announcement of the find and releazing that his name will be published as a scientific author.

“That is amazing. Definitely my first scientific publication. ([I'm) just glad that I can contribute. It feels very good.”

Zooniverse’s principal investigator and Oxford University physicist Dr. Chris Lintott is impressed by this effort. He suggests that four new planets are mostly rocky and far too hot to harbor life on their surface. Nevertheless, it will allow researchers to test many theories.

“The discovery of such an unusual system, with four planets crammed together, will help us test our ideas about how planets are made. A question which has profound implications for understanding the history of our own Earth.”

Stargazing Live host Professor Brian Cox describe the discovery as the “most significant scientific discovery” we have ever made.

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