Today’s post comes from Thomas Esty, our undergraduate summer student working on Planet Hunters.
Hello Planet Hunters, my name is Thomas Esty and I am an undergraduate at Harvard who is working with the PH team at Yale this summer. I’ve been here for 5 weeks now, and have been working on a number of projects related to the Planet Hunters site. The first one is going to roll out soon—it’s a new How-To/Getting Started page that brings together information from the science page, the blog, and even some new material to give new users a more in-depth look at how to use the website and what they might see in looking at the light curves. Take a look at it when it goes up, you might learn something new—we discuss simulations, flares, and eclipsing binary stars among other things. It’s also makes a great time to introduce new people to Planet Hunters. Another project is doing statistical analysis on the 1.5 million point data set from the Planet Hunters Quarter 1 classifications. We’re looking at how people classify stars as variable or quiet and then the type of variability. The last thing that I’ll be doing is starting to build an educational outreach program using the Planet Hunters site. I’m looking to create lesson plans and worksheets for middle and high school level students to get involved in the search for exoplanets and get excited about doing real science. All of us are excited by how far we’ve come with your help in making Planet Hunters a success and we’re looking forward to what we will be able to do to expand the reach of this site and of citizen science in general.