Did you know that you can help find new things in outer space?
You can, with . Backyard Worlds is a , a type of collaborative project where a large community helps scientists analyze data. Human eyes are often the best tool we have to look for changes or moving things in pictures of the night sky. If there’s a lot of data to sift through, scientists need more eyes to help look for interesting objects in their photos, and that's where you come in.
With Backyard Worlds, scientists and their community collaborators are searching for , objects that are too big to be planets but not quite big enough to be stars. They found their , and have just made another cool discovery — .
Two community scientists, Paul Beaulieu and Austin Rothermich, spotted the new brown dwarf in images from the . Their findings are described in a new publication in Research Notes of the AAS.
Scientists captured observations of this brown dwarf with the in Chile. It doesn’t quite match with any of the standard types of small stars or brown dwarfs, and seems to be right on the boundary between the two.
Getting more data on this peculiar object will help scientists figure out exactly it is. In the meantime, you can join in the citizen science with Backyard Worlds to discover your own brown dwarf — or, if you’re more interested in galaxies, whales, or some other science, check out the other projects in need of assistance on . You might even get your name on a scientific paper, just like the discoverers of this new brown dwarf.