Happy Birthday PHT!

It has been exactly a year since the first public TESS data release and the launch of Planet Hunters TESS! Thank you to everyone who has taken part and helped us classify all of the data so far. It has been a truly exciting year!

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A sparkly PHT cake!

Since 6 December 2018, PHT has had over 14 thousand registered (and many more thousand unregistered) participants, and together you have completed almost 11 million classifications! Together, you have helped us find some exciting new planetary systems.

For example, your participation and dedication to the project over the past year have led to the detection and validation of the first PHT planet, TOI-813. TOI-813 is not only the longest period planet found in the TESS data to date, it is also in orbit around a subgiant star. Subgiant stars are stars in the later stages of their lives, meaning that studying these planets will help us understand the synergies between planetary and stellar evolution in the later stages of the stars life, in other words, it may help us understand what will happen to the Earth in the far far future.

But TOI-813 isn’t the only planet that PHT has found so far. You have brought many interesting targets to our attention and we are working hard to test whether these promising signals are indeed caused by planetary bodies. The targets that pass all of our initial vetting tests are being followed up using ground-based telescopes and we hope to validate them in the near future. This will allow us to contribute to the ever-growing population of known planets and bring us one step closer to findings a planet like Earth.

Here are some of the ones that we’re particularly excited about:

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These are only some of the candidates that are currently being actively followed up using telescopes found across the globe, including Chile, France, Australia and the USA. We will be sharing the results of our findings soon!

In addition to the exciting planets that are being found by the project, we have also come across lightcurves of some puzzling stars. These are often brought to our attention via the talk discussion boards and I would like to thank you everyone for using this tool to post and highlight interesting signals and patterns in lightcurves there. Here are some of the ones that we haven’t been able to explain.

There appear to be more dips here than we would expect for a simple eclipsing binary?

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This one appears to be two binaries, but could they be locked together making this a quadruple?

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This is a beautifully long eclipsing binary!

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Thank you so much for your participation over the past year! Here at Zooniverse we are celebrating Planet Hunter TESS’s first birthday with a sparkly cake!

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Some of the Planet Hunters TESS team!

About Nora Eisner

Project leader of the Zooniverse citizen science project Planet Hunters TESS and PhD Student at the University of Oxford.

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