We’ve just updated the Candidates List to reflect what we’ve learned from Q1 and from a preliminary look through the Q2 data so far. Some candidates from Q1 have survived, others have not. Each of these candidates looks promising to us and not on the list of known candidates released by the Kepler team. These are possible planet candidates, that is, as far as we can tell, they look good and we think are not eclipsing binaries or false positives. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that these stars have planets. A minimum of three separate observed transits are needed as well as follow-up observations. From our first paper, you can see that after checking through everything only two of the top 10 we looked at turned out to be good. Many on the list might not turn out to be real planet transits, but their appearance on our list means we think we’re on the right track. We will continue to follow-up and vet these candidates with observations from the Keck telescopes and other checks to try and rule out possible false positives.
We’re also keeping track of discovery credit. The names of those lucky hunters who are in line to make discoveries are listed on the candidates page as well. We have a full record in our database of what everyone did. Additionally, some of our candidates came from light curves that were highlighted in Talk, and we will be giving credit to those users who helped alert our attention to those light curves (we plan to have their names added soon on the Candidates List).
In other news, the Kepler team announced that the next public release of data has been moved up from June 2012 to yesterday . Quarter 3 is an extra 90 days of observations, nearly doubling the time baseline we have available for all the Kepler stars – meaning you can find even longer period planets hidden in the data! With the addition of Q3, we now have 210 days worth of Kepler data for ~150,000 stars. The team is hard at work making preparations for the new data, which included assembling the new candidates list. In the mean time, there’s still lots of Quarter 2 data left to search through, and the science team is continuing to search for transits in the Quarter 2 data with your classifications and Talk posts.
We are currently downloading the Q3 data, and Meg is heading out to the folks at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago early next week to help check out the new data and help plan the Q3 upload with our amazing Zooniverse developers who keep the Planet Hunters site going. Our goal is to get the data served to you as quickly as possible with minimal interruptions to the site. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of the Q3 upload. So stay tuned!And thanks for all the clicks!