Perhaps you’ve never noticed because they don’t get a lot of publicity but there are hundreds and hundreds of citizen science projects that you can get involved in. These projects differ from tagging space observatory photos to transcribing documents that are centuries old. You don’t require any special skills or qualifications to help promote the cause of science, just a laptop or a phone and you’re good to go. There are hundreds of projects you can get involved with at any time, all contributing to worthy goals across the planet. One such citizen science project called SuperWASP Variable Stars is engaging curious volunteers across the world to help scientists discover the weirdest variable stars!
About SuperWASP Variable Stars
SuperWASP Variable Stars is the citizen science project for transiting exoplanets and it uses wide-field robotic telescopes to continuously image the night sky. The aim of SuperWASP Variable Stars is to involve citizen scientists to classify variable stars based on their photometric light curves, which helps the scientists to determine what kind of variable star they’re examining.
Analyzing these stars serves two goals: firstly to form large catalogs of stars of a similar type which enables them to determine features of the population; and secondly, to classify rare objects displaying unusual behavior, which can contribute unusual insights into stellar formation and development. The members of SuperWASP Variable Stars have done some initial analysis on the first 300,000 classifications to get a breakdown of how many of each type of star is in their dataset. Once they completed the next batch of classifications, they will do some more to see whether the breakdown of types of stars changes.
So far, 1.6 million variable stars have been identified by the SuperWASP telescope for classification, and scientists are now seeking your help! By getting involved, you can help to build up a better idea of what sorts of stars are in the night sky.
How To Participate in Local Group Cluster Search?
The goal of this initiative is to recognize and classify the folded lightcurves of all objects with measured periods as either eclipsing binary stars, pulsating stars, rotationally modulated stars, or simply junk. To get involved in this project you can simply visit the project’s home page and start working on the classification. There is no need to sign up or register. They’ve also started a Twitter account, where they’ll be sharing updates about the project, the mysterious and wacky light curves you find, and getting involved in citizen science and astronomy communities. Scientists still have thousands of stars to classify, so they need your help!
Become A Volunteer!
Since the SuperWASP Variable Stars Zooniverse project began, they’ve made a few changes to make the project more delightful. They’ve decreased the number of classifications needed to retire a target, and also decreased the number of classifications of “junk” light curves required to retire it. This means you would be able to witness more interesting, real, light curves. Moreover, this helps give scientists a snapshot of weirdest variable stars, and it’s a great way to contribute to citizen science in your community while maintaining safe physical distance protocols.