Dec 7, 2021

We Are Asking the Public to Help Us Study the Sun. Join NASA’s Latest Citizen Science Project: Solar Jets

Image of orange sun with magnifying glass and the title Solar Jet Hunter

Solar jets are bursts of plasma coming off the Sun. Studying solar jets contributes to better understanding of our closest star, the Sun, and how its energy impacts conditions on Earth.

The new Solar Jet citizen science project is led by researchers at the University of Minnesota, with support from NASA. From the science team’s press release:

“These solar jets are sort of like a million hydrogen bombs going off on the star that’s actually not that far away from us, so it is important that we try to understand more about how that happens,” said Lindsay Glesener, a University of Minnesota associate professor of physics and astronomy. “But with our small research team, it would probably take a decade or more to look through all these images ourselves so we’re asking for help.

Here's where you [citizen scientist] come in. You are being asked to help analyze images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and work with solar researchers to record your findings. According to Sophie Musset, a research fellow at the European Space Agency and former University of Minnesota postdoctoral researcher who is leading the Solar Jet Hunter project, the information from citizen scientists “will not only be used to study the Sun but will also help to write a computer algorithm that could speed future identification of solar jets by combining computer help with human expertise.”

To join the project, go to the Solar Jet Hunter website.

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