Should you mark it as a transit?

A question that comes up regularly on Talk is whether you should mark something as a potential transit. A lot of people are apprehensive about giving a “wrong” answer. Rest assured, there’s no such thing as a wrong answer. You are classifying real data where the true answer simply isn’t known – that’s at the heart of science.

So what should you do if you’re not sure? If your instinct tells you that a feature might be a real transit, you should mark it. The reason for this is that that’s where the real information comes from. Other people will see the same data and classify it independently of you. Citizen science projects like Planethunters tap into the “Wisdom of the Crowd” effect where the decision (classifications) of a large group can be more effective than a single expert.

But for this to work, we need a diverse and independent set of classifications. So next time you worry about whether to click on something, listen to your own experience and instinct, and if in doubt, click on it. If it’s a real transit, chances are others will click on it too.

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