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A New Breed of Planet Hunters

Amateur scientists find niche in locating new planets.

The field of view for the Kepler spacecraft, which is collecting data for the search for exoplanets.Image Credit: Carter Roberts

By Brian Jacobsmeyer, ISNS Contributor

(ISNS) -- Over the past decade, scientists have found evidence of hundreds of planets orbiting stars outside our solar system. A group of volunteers has also joined the search, and they have found several additional planets that initially fell through the cracks.

Called Planet Hunters, the project has led to the discovery of several new planets while also confirming many findings made by Kepler scientists. Earlier this year, project leaders unveiled two new exoplanet candidates that NASA’s computer data crunching failed to detect.

Regardless of the method used, scientists are anxiously awaiting confirmation of a cosmic home away from home. Planet Hunters may not be the first group to find a truly Earth-like planet outside of our solar system, but scientists are using every tool available.

"I think we're only a year or 18 months away from finding an Earth analog," said Barclay. "We're getting very close."

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This is a great article - very interesting, and exciting to think that ordinary "citizen scientists" can be a part of this search for an earth-like planet. How great will that day be, when Urantia Book students finally see this part of the revelation begin to be corroborated in real life...!

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