Monday, January 15, 2007

Hey Buddy, Wanna Be an Astronomy Researcher?

I recently discovered a website that will allow any astronomy enthusiast, even amateurs such as myself, to participate in astronomy research. The website is called systemic, and is focused on helping amateurs sift through astronomical observations to try to identify star systems with extrasolar planets.

Basically, the software allows users to simulate planetary systems and determine how well the simulated systems fit observational data. Systems that match the observations closely are then uploaded back into the database as potential matches.

As part of testing the system, the systemic team has also added the radial velocity observations for all known extrasolar planetary systems into their database to determine whether users' simulations match scientifically-accepted facts.

If you'd like to help out with some astronomy research, you can download the software here. I certainly plan to do so.

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