NASA is asking amateur astronomers around the world to help study the ice giants Uranus and Neptune. The agency’s New Horizons spacecraft, situated in the Kuiper Belt, will be observing the two planets, and the mission team is inviting citizen scientists to contribute by taking their own images of the planets.
“We need your help to study these mysterious worlds,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “By combining the data from New Horizons with images from Earth-based telescopes, we can learn more about the atmospheres, weather patterns, and moons of Uranus and Neptune.”
The Importance of Citizen Science in Advancing Space Exploration
Citizen science has become a vital part of space exploration. By engaging the general public in scientific research, NASA’s Citizen Science program has opened doors to collaboration and discovery that extend far beyond professional astronomers. The program has helped to collect data on various topics, including the evolution of galaxies, the climate of Mars, and the effects of climate change on Earth.
The History of Amateur Astronomy and Its Contributions to Science
Amateur astronomy has a rich history of contributing to scientific discovery. From monitoring celestial events to identifying new celestial objects, amateur astronomers have played a vital role in expanding our understanding of the universe.
How to Participate in the Uranus and Neptune Citizen Science Campaign
Amateur astronomers with telescopes as small as 16 inches can participate in the campaign. They should observe Uranus and Neptune on September 10, 2023, and post their images on social media using the hashtag #NHIceGiants. The New Horizons team will collect and analyze the images to help them better understand the two planets.
“This is a great opportunity for amateur astronomers to make a real contribution to space science,” said Stern. “We are excited to see what you can learn about Uranus and Neptune.”
The Different Ways That Amateur Astronomers Can Contribute to Scientific Research
Apart from this campaign, there are various other ways amateur astronomers can contribute to scientific research. From participating in observational campaigns to sharing data with professional astronomers, the opportunities are endless for those interested in exploring the cosmos.
The Uranus and Neptune citizen science campaign is a unique opportunity for amateur astronomers to actively engage in space exploration. Whether you’re an experienced astronomer or just starting, your contribution can make a real impact. To learn more about the Uranus and Neptune citizen science campaign, visit the New Horizons website.
Join the movement and make your mark in the universe!