It seems like to me all our analysis of stars and planets could be automated. A computer looks through the data for anomalies and then performs additional observations for that area and then outputs a presumed planet fact sheet based on all its calculations. If it's certainty is less than some threshold, it prompts a scientist to examine the data more closely.

Perhaps this already happens--but from media headlines in the form of "researchers discover another potential habitable planet!" I got the impression that automated detecting wasn't a thing.

I would like to know if we are automating, and if so, how it works (I am particularly interested in the search for Earth-like planets). Otherwise, if we are not automating, I would like to know why we are not.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! Anything for planets? $\endgroup$ – personjerry Mar 27 '15 at 1:13
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    $\begingroup$ For exoplanets, there is the APF. For asteroids NEAT and LINEAR. There are many software in the area, eg PPAstro. $\endgroup$ – mins Mar 27 '15 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because off-topic: migrate to Astronomy. $\endgroup$ – Jerard Puckett Mar 29 '15 at 14:59

This is done through APF, NEAT and LINEAR, as mins mentioned however an interesting project currently running is the Galaxy Zoo, which works on the principle that:

  • Humans are much better at identifying certain types of pattern than computers

So while computers trawl raw data for potential points of interest, these are then passed to humans for classification into type, interesting or not, anomalies etc.

As Rikki-Tikki-Tavi commented, planethunters does the same for planets.

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  • $\begingroup$ I would like to correct: planethunters.org Has been around for a while. There you can look for Exoplanets. It's made by the same people as galaxy zoo. $\endgroup$ – Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Mar 27 '15 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ excellent - hadn't seen that one. I'll add it in. thanks $\endgroup$ – Rory Alsop Mar 27 '15 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Different teams, tho not surprisingly Chris Lintott (you might know him from BBC's Sky at Night or perhaps Stargazing Live programs) is listed on both. What they share is a common web-based citizen science platform / portal Zooniverse. That platform currently hosts many space related citizen science projects, latest of which was unveiled during this year's Stargazing Live - Snapshot Supernova. $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Apr 3 '15 at 1:45

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