The Launch of TESS and Planet Hunters!

Congratulations to the NASA TESS team for a successful launch! This is an exciting new start for transiting exoplanet discoveries and it also signals a new start for Planet Hunters! We are looking forward to showing TESS data on our site in the coming months.

You may have noticed that things have been quiet on the Planet Hunter site recently. The team of postdocs and grad students working on Planet Hunters have inevitably moved on to new positions. However, behind the scenes, we are working on the M dwarf planet occurrence rates based on your classifications. We are working with the Zooniverse team to move Planet Hunters to a more robust new platform. And we have reached out to several of our citizen scientists for ideas about how to move forward with Planet Hunters. This summer, Rebekah and Jennifer Kahn will be working on Planet Hunters at Yale. They will be setting up a site with light curve fitting tools developed by and for Planet Hunters and preparing for the TESS data.

Some interesting statistics about Planet Hunters:

  1. We have had more than 500,000 volunteers on our site. These citizen scientists have classified millions of light curves, contributing a cumulative total of almost 200 years (the 24/7 classification time for a single person working 200 years non-stop).

  2. Planet Hunters has been supported by Yale University, grants from NASA, and gifts in memory of Jerry Green. We are working on a new grant proposal to NASA to support a postdoctoral fellow who will provide strong leadership on the Planet Hunter site.

  3. Two of our citizen scientists (Kian Jek and Daryll LaCourse) were awarded the Chambliss prize for amateur astronomy from the American Astronomical Society.

  4. One PhD thesis (by Joey Schmidt) was based on Planet Hunters.

Watch this space – we’re excited about the new changes ahead!