2014-01-30. NASA-Sponsored 'Disk Detective' Lets Public Search for New Planetary Nurseries.

posted Feb 4, 2014, 11:41 AM by Alan Gould

For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 7. Excerpt: NASA is inviting the public to help astronomers discover embryonic planetary systems hidden among data from the agency's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission through a new website, DiskDetective.org. Disk Detective is NASA's largest crowdsourcing project whose primary goal is to produce publishable scientific results. ...Astronomers have used computers to search this haystack of data for planet-forming environments and narrowed the field to about a half-million sources that shine brightly in the infrared, indicating they may be "needles": dust-rich disks that are absorbing their star's light and reradiating it as heat. ...But galaxies, interstellar dust clouds, and asteroids also glow in the infrared, which stymies automated efforts to identify planetary habitats. ... the only way to know for sure is to inspect each source by eye, which poses a monumental challenge....  http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/january/nasa-sponsored-disk-detective-lets-public-search-for-new-planetary-nurseries/#.UvEuefYujhA. NASA RELEASE 14-038.