UNITE: Unistellar Network Investigating TESS Exoplanets

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Sky Survey mission has identified many new exoplanets! Astronomers now need your help to characterize the orbits of these exoplanets as a first step in learning about them. Join the worldwide Unistellar global network of amateur and professional astronomers working to document the timing of exoplanets' transits (a “transit” happens when a planet passes in front of its star, briefly blocking the starlight). We are tracking both the frequency and length of transit periods to better describe the orbits.

Go to Project Website

ages

18 and up

division

Astrophysics

where

Outdoors under the night sky –  in dark countryside and also in bright cities.

launched

2022

An artist’s interpretation of a gas giant in its planetary system.
Credit: NASA/JPL

What you'll do

  • Use your own telescope to observe newly discovered exoplanets and collect information about its transits to help characterize its orbit.
  • Coordinate with other citizen scientists and researchers around the globe to track and learn about these new worlds.

Requirements

  • Time to get started: 5-15 minutes to complete the tutorial; observations take 1+ hours
  • Equipment: Unistellar or similar telescope
  • Knowledge: None. An in-project tutorial provides all instruction needed.

Get started!

  1. Visit our project get started page.
  2. Pick your target based on your location and note the observation details.
  3. 10 minutes before the predicted transit, point your telescope at the target (detailed instructions provided).
  4. Observe the system and fill out an online observation report.

Learn More

Questions about exoplanets? Check out the Learn About Exoplanets section of our website. You can also read about what our global collaboration has accomplished to date in our Results section.

If you don’t have a Unistellar telescope, you can still participate! Visit our website to learn how

Follow UNITE’s parent organizations Unistellar and The SETI Institute on X!

A screenshot from the Pick Your Target page for the North America region. Each symbol has a meaning:
Blue stars & shading = you can observe the entire event.
Yellow triangles = you can observe the entire event but you may have brief tracking difficulty due to the high altitude of the target star.
Orange diamonds = you may miss the start or end of the event but your data will still be useful.
Credit: Unistellar
SETI black text logo starts with a backwards S above a black dot so it looks like a question mark. This sits above blue text reading institute.

Video Credit: SETI Institute/Unistellar/T. Esposito

Get to know the people of UNITE!

Get to know the people of UNITE!

Tom Esposito

UNITE Principal Investigator, Exoplanets Co-Lead, Pipeline Development/ Exoplanet Detection Scientist

Portrait photo of a young smiling woman with long dark hair, looking over her shoulder.

Lauren Sgro

Data Analysis, Communications/ Astronomer, SETI

Franck Marchis

Outreach, Communications/ Planetary Sciences

Portrait photo of a smiling man with curly blonde hair and a mustache.

Michael Primm

Citizen Scientist/ Chief Technology Officer

Portrait photo of a smiling young man in a black tshirt and glasses.

Petri Kuossari

Citizen Scientist | Information Technology (IT) Manager