The Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 citizen science project invites the public to join the search for cold worlds nearby the Sun using its newly revamped online interface. The Backyard Worlds re-launch coincides with publication of the project’s latest discovery: an ancient white dwarf star encircled by a mysterious set of dusty rings – as illustrated in this artistically rendered composite image. NOAO scientist Aaron Meisner is a Backyard Worlds co-founder and science team member. Image Credit: P. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Scott Wiessinger
The Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project re-launches this week, with a call to volunteer citizen scientists to join the search for cold worlds near the Sun. With its newly revamped online interface and equipped with twice as much data as before, the project offers new opportunities to discover planets lurking yet unseen in the outer reaches of the Solar System (e.g., Planet 9, Planet X) as well as cold nearby “failed stars” (a.k.a. brown dwarfs). The re-launch coincides with the publication of the project’s latest discovery: a record-setting white dwarf star encircled by mysterious dusty rings that challenge astronomers to rethink the long-term evolution of planetary systems.