Monday, February 11, 2019

KIC 8462852 Analysis - you can participate

Tabby Boyajian has a new initiative related to the analysis of light coming from the star known as Boyajian's Star that I've blogged about quite a bit here and spoken about over at the Wow! Signal.

The new initiative is about making telescope images in various wavelength bands from the Las
One of the Las Cumbres Telescopes
Cumbres Observatory
network available in a regular basis for community analysis. These images will be centered around Boyajian's Star.

Citizen scientists will crack open the images, analyze the variations in the star's brightness at different colors, and look for emerging trends. It's a great project for a science or math class, or anyone of any age or background interested in participating. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and the willingness to learn. Help is available with every  step of the process.

The best way to get started is to go on over to the subreddit set up for this purpose, and ask your questions. Download and install AstroImageJ, grab the training images, follow the how-tos and other guidance we have published, and learn by doing. We are putting more information there almost daily, and we expect the first batch of images in about 3 weeks, weather permitting.

You will be participating in solving a scientific mystery. We don't know where the very fine dust is coming from that is causing the deep dips in brightness Boyajian's Star, and there is very likely other material involved that we haven't yet got much of a clue about.  The way these kinds of mysteries are typically solved is through lots of persistent and consistent effort by lots of people. Why not you?