Viewing posts from September, 2011

Investigate transiting exoplanets with Agent Exoplanet

Our first totally online, citizen science project was launched today. It is called Agent Exoplanet and is about investigating transiting exoplanets. The 'Agent' part of the name is gives the project a secret agent theme. It might seem a little strange for an astronomy project but the key similarity is that astronomers are like detectives. Very often in science you have a small amount of information to go on to try to unlock the secrets of the Universe. In astronomy this is especially true where it is impossible to do experiments on an exploding star, a forming solar system or planet around another sun; you only have a small amount of light which is captured by a telescope and recorded on instruments like digital cameras. If you think about it this way most of astronomy research is like detective work.

Extra-solar planets, or exoplanets, are an exciting branch of astronomy which has taken off in the 20 years since the first exoplanet was discovered. Nearly 700 exoplanets are currently known about, with astronomers discovering more every day.

Site progress at Tenerife, Texas, and South Africa

Site construction is continuing smoothly at Tiede Observatory and at McDonald Observatory while domes have begun being assembled at SAAO.

FLOYDS first light

On September 1, FLOYDS achieved first light! This is a great accomplishment for all involved! A calibration lamp were used to achieve a rough alignment and the spectra.