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Find out how to gain global fame by uncovering the secrets of the universe at home.

For Science! These citizen science projects let you make the amazing discoveries


Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Monday, April 13, 2015, 12:10 - These projects (and more) put you at the 'science station' to make great discoveries about our planet, the environment and the universe around us!

Have you ever read about the amazing discoveries being made in the fields of science and wished you could be the one making them, or at least playing a part in them? Well, these days, you can! 

We live in an amazing time when we can build cameras and sensors and telescopes that are capable of collecting enormous amounts of data about the world around us and the depths of space. There's a problem with that, though. With all that data possibly holding the key to some mystery about the universe, it would take decades or even centuries for some project scientists and their teams to pore over everything they collected for their study, and we haven't yet build the computer that can analyze all that data as well as the human brain can.

That's where we, the citizen scientists, come in, and here are three examples of projects where we can help.

Search for Exoplanets

As of today, April 13, 2015, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has catalogued 1,019 confirmed exoplanets, with over 4,600 candidate worlds waiting on confirmation, and there are - most certainly - even more 'hiding' in the data, ready to be discovered.

With Planet Hunters, you can sift through the Kepler data, using a keen eye to look for ‘transits’ – the telltale dip in a star’s brightness caused by an orbiting planet.

Just think, if current estimates are right, and there's up to fifty billion habitable planets out there in our galaxy, you could be involved in discovering our first signs that we’re not alone in the universe!

Identify Dangerous Storms

More interested in our own planet? How about using that keen eye to help scientists unlock the mysteries of cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons?

The answers to some persistent questions about the behavior and strength of these tropical cyclones may lie in Cyclone Center’s vast database of close to 300,000 satellite images.

What you discover in those images may help forecasters better predict future storms and protect us from their fury.

Spy on Penguins

If exoplanets and raging storms aren't what you’re looking for, how about spying on penguins for science?

Penguin Watch has captured thousands of images from remote cameras on and around the Antarctic Peninsula.

By clicking through these images of penguin colonies as they live, hunt and nest, and cataloguing not only the penguins, along with their chicks and eggs, but also predators and other potential threats, you can help scientists track the health and well-being of these colonies, and assist in efforts to protect these fascinating species.

Want more?

These are just three examples of prominent citizen science projects that need our help, but there are many more.

Check out the Zooniverse Project website for a collection of other projects where you can discover galaxies, investigate solar storms and explore Mars, help scientists by cataloguing weather, investigating nature, and even search for exotic subatomic particles in data collected by the Large Hadron Collider.

Cosmoquest lets you map the surfaces of planets, moons and asteroids.

NASA has also introduced the new Asteroid Hunter project, where any amateur astronomer with a backyard telescope can help them discover potentially-dangerous asteroids.

Try out these or any of the multitude of other citizen science projects available on the internet, and help make some amazing discoveries!

Source: Zooniverse

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