Physics and Astronomy

Citizen Science and Research Opportunities

Pulsar Search Collaboratory– This is a Green Bank Telescope data analysis project which can help students discover pulsars! For a thorough introduction, you can get a teacher to sign you up and participate in a 6-week training course. On the other hand, you can participate completely independently and watch archived lecture videos to get a hang of how the analysis works.

International Asteroid Search Campaign– This allows individuals and teams to use the software Astrometrica to analyse real-time data from the PAN-Starrs telescope in Hawaii to discover new asteroids.

Remote Telescopes- You can submit your own observing requests and take your own images of space. One of the best ways to learn image processing and make other measurements. Here are a few: Skynet 20-meter telescope (requires paid user account), MicroObservatory, iTelescope.net, Las Cumbres Observatory, National Schools Observatory (only available to schools in the UK and Ireland). And here’s a handy course for learning how to use the Skynet telescope (it is a paid course).

DIY Planet Search– Follow up on the transit light curves of exoplanets.

The Zooniverse– This is home to several projects, of which there are some astro/physics projects as well. Here are some physics projects, and here are astronomy projects.

The Sungrazer Project– You need to download a simple image processing software to analyse SOHO and STEREO spacecraft missions’ images to search for comets. A comprehensive guide to the project is also available.

Mars Student Imaging Program (MSIP)- a structured program is only available to students in the US, but anyone can do independent research based off the MSIP curriculum and data.

Exoplanet Explorers– Simple interactive activities that will introduce you to the basics of exoplanet exploration. Might be a bit too easy for high school students.

Global Telescope Network– Following up on objects observed in the X-Ray and Gamma Ray bands from the ground. You will need a telescope.

Stardust@Home– Citizen scientists have the opportunity to discover and name the first interstellar dust particles brought to Earth by the Stardust mission.

Agent ExoplanetAnalyse images taken of stars with known planets by the Las Cumbres Observatory Telescope to study the properties of exoplanets.

Eratosthenes Experiment– Take your own measurements while collaborating with schools around the world to conduct the Eratosthenes experiment and calculate the circumference of the Earth!

Radio Astronomy Observing Program– Involves building your own instruments to observe radio sources in the sky and submitting reports to earn badges.

MeteorCounter– An app that lets you count and categorise meteors.

Classification of X-Ray Sources for Novices (CLAXSON) – Using observations taken over the last 20 years, identify celestial objects in the X-ray sky.

Panoptic Astronomical Networked Observatories for a Public Transiting Exoplanets Survey (PANOPTES)Build a robotic telescope that can be used to detect transiting exoplanets.

Stellar Classification Online Public Exploration (SCOPE)– In this project, compare spectra of previously unclassified stars against reference spectra to determine the star type.

VSX Data Mining– The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) released a set of data mining citizen science projects recently. These involve classification of variable stars. (Pro tip: Subscribe to the AAVSO mailing list! They frequently share information about upcoming observing events and webinars that may interest the amateur astronomer.)

Magnetospheric Undulations Sonified Incorporating Citizen Scientists (MUSICS)– Run by Queen Mary University of London, the project involves analysing fluid plasma waves recorded in the Earth’s magnetosphere using audio software. The data and software can be downloaded on the site.

International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA)- IOTA times and measures astronomical occultations. They have a wealth of data on the basics of observing occultations and what equipment is needed to do so.

Exploration of the Moon and Asteroids by Secondary Students (ExMASS)- The program itself has officially ended, but resources are still available on their site.

Research-Based Science Education for Undergraduates (RBSEU)- Hosts instructions, data and programs online for a variety of projects including searching for novae, asteroids, and variable stars.

Physicists Inspiring the Next Generation