Some stars are surrounded by disks - vast spinning clouds of gas, dust, and chunks of rock where planets form and evolve. NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission collected images of more than two billion objects in outer space. Now scientists need your help finding which of these objects are stars with disks. These objects will become the focus of future studies, including by the James Webb Space Telescope.
This long-running project discovered the Peter Pan disk phenomenon. Peter Pan disks are a kind of disk that retains gas far longer than most. More than 14 volunteers have become named coauthors of published papers through this project.
WHO: All Ages
Go to Project Website
What you’ll get to do:
- View images of stars taken by multiple different telescopes.
- Examine the images for background sources of light or other interference that might mimic light from a disk.
- Connect with scientists and other citizen scientists to research good disk candidates in greater depth.
- Time: ~15 Minutes to complete online training
- Equipment: Internet connected mobile device or computer
- Knowledge: None. In-project training provided.
- Visit our project website.
- Learn: Click “Get Started” and complete the tutorial to learn how to recognize debris disks.
- Look for disks: Start looking for debris disks by comparing multiple images of the same star taken with different telescopes.
Join the Disk Detective Talk forum to learn from peers and scientists. When you've done 300 classifications, email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to join the advanced user group.
Get to know the Disk Detectives!
Citizen Scientist/Postdoctoral Associate
Citizen Scientist/Site Reliability Engineer for Altmetric
Joshua “Josh” Hamilton
Citizen Scientist/Director of Adult Faith Formation
Hugo Durantini Luca
Citizen Scientist/Astronomy Student
Citizen Scientist/University Research Assistant
Astrophysicist/Citizen Science Officer
Citizen Scientist/College Student
Milton Keller Drane Bosch
Citizen Scientist/Medical Doctor (retired)
Lily Wan Wah Lau