Citizen scientists discover 42 new planet candidates

This is just a short post to mention a very neat paper I have been involved with. The Planet Hunters project gets a group of very proficient citizen scientists to look for planets in data coming from the Kepler spacecraft. They have found 42 new planet candidates in the data. The paper can be found on arXiv and is lead by Yale postdoc Ji Wang.

One of the most exciting thing about this work is that the majority of the candidates have long orbital periods and twenty of these candidates are in or close to the habitable region around their host star. This is astounding because it shows for the first time that planets orbiting the habitable zone are common. Most of their candidates are Neptune-sized planets but if we find large planets we can expect to find small planets. Very exciting!

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