Citizen scientists process a stunning image of a giant storm in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft during its 11th close flyby of the giant planet. Bright cloud tops look similar to storm clouds on Earth, although the scale is vastly larger. Juno is giving planetary scientists a unique view of Jupiter from the spacecraft’s polar orbit.
A group of citizen scientists and professional astronomers joined forces to discover an unusual hunting ground for exoplanets. They found a red dwarf, called AWI0005x3s, surrounded by the oldest known circumstellar disc — a 45-million-year-old primordial ring of gas and dust orbiting the star from which planets can form.
Two volunteer participants in an international citizen science project, T. Matorney and I. A. Terentev, have had a rare galaxy cluster that they found named after them. The pair pieced together the huge C-shaped structure of RGZ-CL J0823.2+0333 from much smaller images of cosmic radio waves shown to them as part of the web-based program Radio Galaxy Zoo.
A star called KIC 8462852 has been in the news recently for unexplained and bizarre behaviour. NASA’s Kepler mission had monitored the star for four years, observing two unusual incidents, in 2011 and 2013, when the star’s light dimmed in dramatic, never-before-seen ways. Something had passed in front of the star and blocked its light, but what?
Around 37,000 citizen scientists combed through 430,000 images to help an international team of researchers to discover 29 new gravitational lens candidates through Space Warps — an online classification system which guides citizen scientists to become lens hunters, giving the public a chance to make their own scientific discoveries.
On 13 September 2015, the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) discovered its 3,000th comet, cementing its standing as the greatest comet finder of all time. The comet was spotted in SOHO’s data by Worachate Boonplod of Thailand — a citizen scientist typical of the NASA-funded Sungrazer Project volunteers responsible for 95 percent of SOHO comet discoveries.
In a Hubble Space Telescope survey of 2,753 young, blue star clusters in the neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy (M31), astronomers have found that M31 and our own galaxy have a similar percentage of newborn stars based on mass. The intensive survey was a unique collaboration between astronomers and “citizen scientists,” volunteers who provided invaluable help in analysing the mountain of data from Hubble.