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Space Science

Project Transit Search: Planet Hunting 10

An anonymous reader writes "During the nights of Oct. 5 and Oct. 30, backyard sky-watchers will get their chance. Univ. California (St. Cruz) and NASA are enlisting the large amateur astronomy community to use CCD-equipped telescopes and computer-analyzed photographs to find dimming in the only star (HD 209458 b, HD is the Henry Draper star catalog) known to have a planet candidate correctly aligned for the 'transit method' of planet discovery."
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Project Transit Search: Planet Hunting

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  • It would have been nice to have posted this maybe say 3 days ago.
    • Although it's true that the first date has already passed, the second night, October 30, is still a few weeks away.

      I am looking forward to what the results of this are, although I'm betting on a ton of false positives--after all, what sort of people do you expect to be looking in the sky for more planets? It's to be expected that some of them might be overeager to "see" planets that aren't there--the anal probes that aliens plant in abductees are known to make them delusional.
  • by Optical Voodoo Man ( 611836 ) on Monday October 07, 2002 @10:18AM (#4402932)
    This is amazing! 10 years ago, the experts had no proof that planets existed outside of our solar system; today an amateur with an 8" telescope and a CCD camera can help study them. I love to see technology being put to good use like this.

    I remember when announced they discovered of the first extrasolar planet in 1995. I felt really jealous that some guy who got to work a massive telescope was the one who found it. I thought it was a shame that astronomy was "out of the hands" of the amateur. I'm glad I was wrong.

    Here [asu.edu] is a link to a page that has a nice overview of the history and procedures used to find extrasolar planets.

    • For the most part, the major discoveries (with the exception of asteriods) are made by large telescopes. It's just a simple equation that more money = better equipment, and amateurs generally don't have the money to keep up with the new technology that's available.
  • ... we may very well know of earh-sized planets around other stars, through means such as this NASA project [kearneyhub.com].

    I think I have a decent chance of being alive the day when we can see the first continent on a extra-solar, earth-sized planet.

  • NIGHT!

    At the risk of being all too philospychodelic, it's interesting to note that (as has often been said) you need new instruments to make new astronomic discoveries (eg telescope for the moons of Jupiter, radio telescopes for the Big Bang).

    This thing about discovering new planets based on thought processes only a computer are capable of suggests that our brains just aren't capable of comprehending the universe.

    I guess the SETI project won't bear fruit until the robots have liberated themselves from us... heh heh good luck guys, no sex drive no luck

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