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Meet Our Talk Moderators

As many of you probably know, we have three moderators who volunteer their time to help the Planet Hunters community on Planet Hunters Talk . If you have questions, issues, or the rare dispute on Planet Hunters Talk,  Jo, Joe, and Tony are a great resource. You can  contact them directly via private message or hit the report button to alert them to a thread or post that requires their attention.

Let’s learn more about them:

Jo Echo Syan (echo-lily-mai)

Hi Planet Hunters. My tag is echo-lily-mai, many people wonder what to call me? Well, Echo is fine and some call me Lily. I’m very honoured to be moderator on PH and to be part of such a ground-breaking project.

I remember being in a room in Oxford England with other zooites (zooite is a pet term for people working on a Zooniverse project ) when the Planet Hunters project was announced. I can remember being seriously enthusiastic about the idea.

Planet Hunters Talk Moderator Jo Echo Syan

Planet Hunters Talk Moderator Jo Echo Syan

Here are some photos of us ‘zooites’ at Astrofest this year.

Image credit: Jo Echo Syan

Image credit: Jo Echo Syan

Image credit: Jo Echo Syan

Image credit: Jo Echo Syan

Over the years, I have worked on a few other Zooniverse projects. Galaxy Zoo which I am very fond of, and as a moderator on the now sadly retired Merger Zoo project.

I am interested in Art and Science and try to explore the two subjects through my Enjoy Chaos pages.

There are some amazing projects PH folks are working on at the moment, and I feel very proud to be part of the team when Planet Hunter papers are published.

This has only been possible because each and every person took part and helped with the project, whether that culminated in finding a planet candidate or not!!

I hope that I can help along the way, even if it is directing someone new to a link where they can find out what an eclipsing binary is (yep they look amazing) Or, by passing information on to the science team that needs to be checked out.

If you are new to PH, do ask questions, feel free to explore, and behave!!!! You can always contact a moderator if you have any concerns. Most of all enjoy.

We are all very lucky to be part of this science community, which a few years ago never existed and wouldn’t have been possible.

Is our Earth special? Of course it is. Is it unique? I hope we find out one day…

Tony Hoffman (TonyJHoffman)

My name is Tony Hoffman, and I’ve been fascinated by the night sky since I was an adolescent. Over the years I’ve participated in a number of citizen science astronomy projects, including the SOHO comets program; the Spacewatch FMO Project (near-Earth asteroids); Ice Hunters (Kuiper-belt objects), Stardust@home (interstellar dust); GalaxyZoo; and SETI@home; and have even had some success in finding new astronomical objects in several of them.


Planet Hunters Talk Moderator Tony Hoffman – The photo is of me in Kenya, about to find out that eclipses and dust storms don’t mix!

When Planet Hunters was launched, I shifted my focus to it, as the search for planets orbiting other stars is one of the great quests of our time. Up until I was in my 30s, there were no known exoplanets. In just the past 2 decades, a profusion of planets and solar systems have been found. The idea that ordinary people such as myself can take part in this endeavor staggers my imagination, and the success of Planet Hunters—in which a group of people “eyeballing” light curves have been able to find planets that eluded the Kepler project’s own search algorithms—has been a wonderful vindication of the idea that the human eye is better at some forms of pattern recognition than machines. It’s been a thrill to play an active role in Planet Hunters, and to have contributed to the discovery of at least one new world. I’m glad that Planet Hunters has been able to play a role in helping to survey what sort of worlds are out there, and how other worlds and solar systems are like or unlike our own.

I live in New York City, and I work as a writer. I’m glad to be able to help chronicle some of this great age of discovery. Being involved as a moderator in Planet Hunters has given me a personal connection to the science of exoplanetology. I’ve encountered some brilliant people whose skill at analyzing transits far exceeds my own. Although only a small fraction of the 200,000 (??) Planet Hunters volunteers may get their name on a paper or receive any formal recognition, everyone who classifies transits has an important role as a node in this vast human “computer” that can take graphs of a star’s brightness and find new worlds within them

Joe Constant (constovich)

Hello Citizen Scientists! I am Joe Constant and I live in South Carolina, USA with my wife and two beautiful daughters. From a young age I daydreamed about far away and fantastical places. Planet Hunters allows me to look skyward and potentially find some. We live in an exciting time, with the potential close at hand to answer one of humanity’s oldest questions – “are we alone?” The only time I would rather live in that now is in our future where our transportation technologies advance to the point to allow us to reach the distant rocks we are only now able to see.

Planet Hunters Talk Moderator Joe Constant

Planet Hunters Talk Moderator Joe Constant

When I am not on Planet Hunters or with my family, you’ll likely find me helping convert neutrons to electrons. I work at Duke Energy’s Catawba Nuclear Station coordinating the cause analysis program. Through this program we learn why adverse conditions occur (e.g., why did this pump stop working?) at the plant in order to improve performance and produce nuclear safety (electricity is just a by-product). If there is anything I can do to help, just let me know!


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