Mind the Gap

As I write this, I’m sitting on a train from London in the middle of the English countryside bound for Oxford. I’ll be spending the next week at the Zooniverse’s Oxford headquarters visiting Chris. I’ll  be working and thinking about all things exoplanets and Planet Hunters.

Close to this time last year I visited Oxford for a weeklong visit after the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) Meeting in Nantes, France. Chris and I were working on finalizing and interpretting the first go through of the weighting scheme and Round 2 review and planning in the short term where Planet Hunters was heading. During that week, sitting in the Royal Oak (the pub where it all started in some sense – it’s the place where the idea for Galaxy Zoo was born), Chris and I, over a pint, outlined and planned what would become my short period planets paper. The project has made alot of progress since then, and we couldn’t do it without the contributions from all of you who make it possible with your classifications on the main site and efforts on Talk. Planet Hunters has 3 scientific papers now published or soon to be pubished in astronomical journals (Chris’s Quarter 2 planet candidates paper was recently accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal last week).

There’s lot to do this week and plan for especially with Kepler’s extended mission and the start of Kepler data being released every 3 months once the Quarter is complete come November. (More on that to come in November/December as we get closer to the extended mission.) This week, I’ll be showing Chris some of the research I’ve been doing over the summer, and we’ll plan the next few papers we aim to write. I’ve been working on improving the scheme I developed for Quarter 1 to identify transits by combining your classifications, and I’ve started applying it to Quarters 3,4, and 5. This summer also included some follow-up work on a few of our planet candidates we’ve identified in the past 6 months, though the results aren’t quite finished yet. My collaborators and I are still working hard on that, and I’ll share the results once they’re ready and we’re confident in them.  I’ll be presenting the results from this work and what Chris and I get accomplished this week in Reno, Nevada at this year’s DPS meeting in October. My abstract was accepted and I’m scheduled to give a talk on the first day of the conference.

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