An artistic interpretation of one of the thousands of exoplanets caught in the Kepler telescope lens.
To find a new world, it is not necessary to be a professional astronomer. This was proved by Andrew Gray, who this week found an exoplanetary system with four orbital planets.
Although he still did not do without professional support. The discovery was a highlight for the three-day program ABC Stargazing Live. Viewers were invited to participate in the search for exoplanets using the Exoplanet Explorers website. They were given a brief guide and asked to check the thousands of stars recently observed by the Kepler space telescope.
Gray checked more than 1000 stars before he found a characteristic drop in brightness (a factor for exoplanets). Together with other discoverers, his name appeared in a scientific article. And he managed to find a star with four exoplanets spinning closer than the distance of Mercury-Sun.
The host of the program, the British physicist Brian Cox, was very surprised. He said: "In the entire history of the program, this is the most scientific discovery that has ever been made."
Breakthrough in civil science
What gave this discovery? First of all, this is not a gimmick to create news. This is a real scientific discovery, which should be written in the scientific literature along with other discoveries. In the end, we can better learn about the formation of our planet and the search for other civilizations. But it is also one of the 2300 exoplanets that were spotted by Kepler. So, there are still many amazing worlds waiting for us in the universe.
When a planet passes in front of a star, it overshadows a part of it, causing a noticeable decrease in brightness.
Cooperation of amateurs and professionals
Of course, an important part of this event is the vision of science. Gray did not discover on his own. He used ready data from a telescope, whose mission cost 600 million dollars. But without human intervention, the system would not have succeeded, because so far no one can create an algorithm that simulates the perception of the human brain.
Modern space devices represent a huge amount of information. To process it, you need a large-scale responsible team. That is why the work between scientists and amateurs is so helpful.
Combining mental ability
This is not the first case of such profitable cooperation. Last year, civilian scientists from the Australian Radio Galaxy Zoo project found the largest galactic cluster among all known ones. Therefore, instead of puzzling over computer algorithms, why not use the power of the human brain. Moreover, amateur astronomers are happy to take part in such proposals.