Do you dream of discovering a new planet but that $100 telescope from the museum gift shop just ins’t cutting it? Then give NASA a hand in discovering brown dwarfs and the elusive ninth planet in our solar system via Backyard Worlds: Planet 9.
NASA is sharing infrared images from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope in hopes that human eyes will be able to see through the noise on the images that confuses artificial intelligence. Anyone is free to join in the hunt on the site and a brief walkthrough teaches you how to examine the images using techniques similar to those employed by Clyde Tombaugh when he discovered Pluto in 1930.
The goal is to find proof of a hidden population of brown dwarfs — balls of gas too big to be called planets but too small to be called stars — that models show are likely near the solar system or even a ninth planet that models suggest could exist beyond Neptune. Happy hunting!