Today we’ve launched Disk Detective: a new project that asks you to help scour infrared data from NASA’s WISE spacecraft. WISE is a NASA mission surveying the whole sky in infrared. Disk Detective is backed by a team of astronomers that need your help to look at data of stars to try and find dusty debris disks – similar to our asteroid field. These disks suggest that these stars are in the early stages of forming planetary systems.
Learning more about these stars can tell researchers how our Solar System formed. Computers often confuse debris disks around stars with other astronomical objects. The Disk Detective team need your help to sort out what stars actually have these disks from galaxies and nebulae.
To take part you have to look through flipbook-style sets of images made up of multiple wavelength data from each star. You watch the object change as you move from shorter, optical wavelengths to longer infrared wavelength data. For each star you’re looking at data from multiple surveys and missions taken over many years. Bring all this data together, on the web, is a really cool part of Disk Detective.
There’s lots of data to get through and the science promises to be really interesting. Follow along on the Disk Detective blog, on Twitter and on Facebook too. In the meantime jump on the new site and have a go at www.diskdetective.org.