NASA would like you to please find this planet


The new website uses processed data from NASA's WISE telescope to allow citizen scientists to see even the dimmest objects moving out there in the solar system.

"Automated searches don't work well in some regions of the sky, like the plane of the Milky Way galaxy, because there are too many stars, which confuses the search algorithm", UC Berkeley physicist Aaron Meisner said in a statement.

"But with your powerful human eyes, you can help us recognize real objects of interest that move among these artifacts". These emit very little light at visible wavelengths, but instead glow dimly with infrared - heat - radiation.

The project, Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, uses the millions of images NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) captured during its three-year mission, which ended in 2011.

According to Brown and Batygin's calculations, Planet Nine would be as big as Neptune and 10 times bigger than Earth, but its distance would be up to a thousand times farther from the sun.

For those of you still upset over Pluto's demotion, there may be a new ninth planet.

A postdoctoral researcher in ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration, Schneider is particularly interested in studying objects smaller than fully fledged stars and ranging down in size to planets.

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Want to find a new planet?

Whether the planet is found or not, Backyard Worlds should help speed up the process in some way.

Since January a year ago, evidence of a mysterious and huge planet lurking at the edge of our Solar System has been building.

Astronomers believe that the orbits of a number of bodies in the distant reaches of the solar system have been disrupted by the pull of an as yet unidentified planet.

The movies highlight objects that have gradually moved across the sky, and they need your help to figure out if any of them could be the mysterious Planet Nine - or anything else that's hiding between the edge of our Solar System and our next closest star.

In the footage below, you can see a previously known brown dwarf as an orange dot moving across the upper left of the image.

Because of this, Meisner agreed when NASA scientist Mark Kuchner suggested asking the public to eyeball the WISE images. The space telescope delivered the most comprehensive views of the world beyond Neptune's orbit, and NASA compiled them all into "flipbook" movies that participants can scan.

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This will then be prioritized by the science team, so it can be further investigated by professional astronomers.

In this case, people are better than computers at spotting and identifying objects, such as a planet, in the footage.

"Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 has the potential to unlock once-in-a-century discoveries, and it's exciting to think they could be spotted first by a citizen scientist", he added.

Participants will win a share of the credit in any scientific discoveries that the project brings to light.

"Brown dwarfs form like stars but evolve like planets, and the coldest ones are much like Jupiter", said team member Jackie Faherty, an astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History in NY.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages and operates WISE, part of NASA's Explorers Program.

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