Nasa wants you to become a Disk Detective and spot planet formation

Nasa has launched a new Zooniverse citizen science project to get you hunting for extrasolar dusty disks, planetary precursors, among 500,000 unidentified objects in the sky.

Disk Detective features images captured by the space agency’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (Wise), which between 2010 and 2011 captured one of the most detailed views of the Universe in infrared in four different wavelengths. The team at the Goddard Space Flight Center wants to use this data to get the public to identify the early beginnings of planets.

As we understand it, planetary systems are formed when gravity pulls particles in a collapsing cloud of dust and ionized gases together until a hot core develops to form a star. The remaining particles begin to rotate until eventually a flattened disk forms. Particles clump together to form planetesimals, which in turn eventually form planets. Details however, are scarce, and Nasa is hoping to zero in on as many of these dusty disks as possible to study them in more detail.

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via Ars Technica


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