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Welcome to the Exoplanet Explorers Wiki!Edit

The Exoplanet Explorers Wiki is a community database of the extrasolar planet candidates discovered by members of the Exoplanet Explorers project on Zooniverse. Any member of the EE project can create an article about a planet or system they have found. However, any candidate must be checked with advanced analysis tools before an article would be made. Articles about other interesting discoveries done by EE users, including eclipsing binaries and odd variable stars, are welcome.

BackgroundEdit

The field of finding and studying exoplanets (nicknamed "Exoplanetology") has been around since the mid to late 1990's. Back in those days, planets were mostly found with the Radial Velocity method. Astronomers would measure the star's spectrum over a period of days or months, looking for signs of a slight tug or tugs caused by orbiting objects. In the spectrum, the star's light would get a little more blue when moving towards Earth, and a little more red when it was moving away. How much the star is tugged and how often reveals the orbit and mass of any planets or brown dwarfs. This method, while efficient, could only be used by professional scientists, and getting enough data to confirm just a single planet could take many months to gather and analyze.

Then, in the very late 1990's, a new method emerged into the scientific world: the transit method. While also using a star's light to indirectly find exoplanets, this method was much easier. All it does is look for tiny, short dips in a star's light that would be caused by an orbiting planet passing within our line of sight in front of its star. If the same dip repeats on a periodic basis, you will be able to find the planet's orbit and help confirm its existence. Transits could reveal planets up to twice the radius of Jupiter and all the way down to the size of our Moon. While revolutionary, the transit method wasn't used as much in its early days, due to the rather low odds that a planet would pass in front of its star from Earth's view. For years it was used mainly to find the radii of confirmed planets discovered by radial velocity - the first so was HD 209458b, or Osiris. Many continuous surveys, such as MEarth and WASP, took on the challenge of looking at wide areas of the sky for transiting worlds.

The field of transit exoplanet discoveries was slow going, until 2009, when everything changed. After 2 decades of roadblocks and perseverance, Bill Borucki managed to get his dream mission, the Kepler Space Telescope, built and up into space. It was meant to stare at a region filled with over 150,000 stars for years, looking for transits with some of the most advanced digital cameras ever made. Over the next few years, Kepler cranked out hundreds of confirmed planets (Kepler-62f, Kepler-452b, and Kepler-442b are some of its most famous), along with thousands of exoplanet candidates. Up until May of 2013, Kepler stared at the same area of sky, until stability failures forced it into a new mission: K2.

This brings us to the present day. As scientists continue to pour over the original Kepler data and confirm every single planet there, the K2 mission has been going rather slow. Less than 150 planets have been found so far, which has led scientists to enlist the help in "citizen scientists". K2 scientists Ian Crossfield, Jessie Christiansen, and more launched the Zooniverse-based Exoplanet Explorers project in the spring of 2017 for average people to go through bits of processed K2 data in the search for transiting planets. The release of the project was publicly broadcasted, and within the first 48 hours over 100 planet candidates had been found - including a soon-to-be confirmed system of planets around the Sunlike star EPIC 245950175.

Ever since the project's release, users with more advanced analysis tools have joined and found many likely worlds. Users such as shutcheon, Vidar87, Cabbink, and ProtoJeb21 (me!) have found dozens of very likely worlds, some likely rocky, and some that hold the promise of life. On this wikia, you will find detailed articles on many of these worlds, along with other weird and intriguing phenomena encountered during the project's history.

Latest activityEdit

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EPIC 220221272 System