A week in the life of an observer
Planet Hunters Blog
by astrosobrien
7M ago
Last month I had the privilege of observing at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma. It’s convenient that often the conditions required for excellent observations are the same as what you’d look for in a warm holiday destination, although when you’re working night shifts there isn’t much time for sunbathing. Located at an altitude of 2,370 metres on the edge of La Caldera de Taburiente, the TNG is home to five instruments: SiFAP2, Nics, Dolores, GIANO-B and HARPS-N. We primarily used the HARPS-N instrument, or to give it its full name: th ..read more
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Subject to Candidate to Planet: The Task of Zorro
Planet Hunters Blog
by astrosobrien
1y ago
If we’re confident that there is a real transit signal coming from a given star, we can apply for an allocation of time to use the Zorro speckle imager on the Gemini South telescope (which is a huge 8-metre telescope in Chile). This instrument takes lots of images of the star in quick succession, which allows us to “freeze out” the effects of the Earth’s atmosphere that causes light from stars to be distorted (similar to the distortion that causes stars to twinkle). This allows us to determine whether there are any nearby stars that might be contaminating our measurements. If a star were close ..read more
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From subject to candidate to planet: Processing all that data
Planet Hunters Blog
by astrosobrien
1y ago
You may be wondering how a subject goes from being one of thousands of subjects in the Planet Hunters NGTS project to becoming a candidate and then, hopefully, a bonafide planet! In this series of posts I hope to shed some light on the life cycle of a Planet Hunters NGTS subject. Once a set of subjects are “retired” from the site, which occurs when all the subjects have received responses from at least 20 unique users, the data is collected from a huge “csv” file (that stands for comma-separated values). This contains every response by every volunteer for every subject included in the project ..read more
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Planet Hunters NGTS: A mysterious festive transit
Planet Hunters Blog
by astrosobrien
1y ago
We’ve spotted another transiting object around a star! With unprecedented image resolution we have captured the transit of this festive phenomena seen in the animation below. The transit has a depth of ~6.5% around this small star that has a radius of only 0.4 Solar radii. That means that we can estimate the size of the transiting object (assuming a spherical Santa) to be R = 9.73 x 0.4 x sqrt(0.065) = 1 Jupiter radius! There were hopes that this would be an Earth ana-yule-logue with a Jingle Bell Rock-y composition but it seems to be a Ho-Ho-Hot Jupiter. The shape of the light curve is more ..read more
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Planet Hunter NGTS at the UK Exoplanet Meeting 2022
Planet Hunters Blog
by astrosobrien
1y ago
This week, I was in Edinburgh for the UK Exoplanet Meeting 2022 (UKExom22, for short) where I presented details of the project and the results so far from Planet Hunters NGTS, including details on our 4 new planet candidates. This was an opportunity to showcase the brilliant work of the Planet Hunters NGTS volunteers to an audience of over 100 exoplanet astronomers based in the UK, as well as a chance to meet (in some cases for the first time!) and speak with members of the NGTS team who have been working hard to help us vet the best candidates from the project and coordinate follow-up observa ..read more
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Planet Hunters NGTS: More detail on our first four Planet Candidates
Planet Hunters Blog
by astrosobrien
1y ago
You may have seen my previous post announcing that we have 4 new planet candidates discovered by Planet Hunters NGTS, if not you can find it here. We wanted to give you some more information on what we know about each candidate so far and the efforts we’ve made to gather follow-up data as we work towards ascertaining whether or not they’re real exoplanets! The first step once we decided that these candidates were worthy of further investigation was to fit the data using a more intricate model. This is typically what’s meant by phrases like “modelling estimates” or “fit results” that you may se ..read more
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Planet Hunters NGTS: Potential Planet Candidates
Planet Hunters Blog
by astrosobrien
1y ago
Today, I presented the latest Planet Hunters NGTS results at the UK’s National Astronomy Meeting in the University of Warwick. Good news everyone! I am very excited to announce that we have four new planet candidates have been found by Planet Hunters NGTS. In addition, we have been able to get some observations of three of these new potential planet candidates with the Gemini South telescope in Chile! I have spent the past several months developing a software pipeline to combine all of your assessments together for the various workflows that make up the website. This sifts through the candidat ..read more
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Planet Hunters NGTS: NI Science Festival
Planet Hunters Blog
by astrosobrien
2y ago
Last week was the Northern Ireland Science Festival, which aims to promote all kinds of science being done across the country and beyond! Since Planet Hunters NGTS is run primarily by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, we, along with colleagues across the Astrophysics Research Centre, decided we’d get involved by making some videos to excite people about astronomy and hopefully try to teach some real science along the way. Always looking for ways to promote Planet Hunters NGTS and get more people involved with hunting for exoplanets, we saw this as the perfect opportunity to advertise ..read more
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Triple star system found via Planet Hunters TESS
Planet Hunters Blog
by Nora Eisner
2y ago
Exciting news alert! The Planet Hunters TESS community has helped identify another exciting system, this time comprised of zero planets and three stars. ‘Why is this a Planet Hunters TESS discovery?’ you may ask. Well, thirty thousand pairs of eyes visually looking at data collected by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite leads to many exciting discoveries- including asteroids, supernova, eclipsing binaries and multi-stellar systems – all of which have nothing to do with planets at all but are equally exciting! Our latest discovery is now available at https://arxiv.org/abs/2202.06964 ..read more
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Planet Hunters NGTS German Translation
Planet Hunters Blog
by Meg
2y ago
Today we have a guest post by Ruth Titz-Weider. Ruth is a researcher at the Institute for Planetary Research of DLR (German Aerospace Center) in Berlin. We have translated the Planet Hunters NGTS website into German: Planetenjäger NGTS. It’s ideal to bring real data of real exoplanet research to volunteers, students, and teachers in German speaking environments. The Planets Hunters NGTS website is ideal to get people close to our exoplanet research activities at DLR, Institut für Planetenforschung, in Berlin. DLR has been supporting NGTS with the funding of eight cameras and is part of the sc ..read more
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