Cambridge, February 14: Were you curious about to know more about the exoplanets? If yes then this comes as a bonus for everyone of you where a team of scientists from MIT, Carnegie Mellon and other universities have released a huge dataset of nearby stars. A team of astronomers have made a massive dataset of observations available to the people.The huge dataset consists of 61,000 individual measurements of more than 1,600 nearby stars. Considering the dataset has over two decades of measurements, it could lead to a lot more exoplanet discoveries. The team hopes other researchers combine the data with their own to find new planets or to launch new studies designed to look more closely into potential candidates.
All the measurements came from two decades of observations made by the HiRES spectrometer, which is mounted on a 33-foot telescope at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, using a technique called radial velocity method. The scientists used the tool to detect the tiny wobble stars make in response to the gravity of an orbiting planet. Thus, the dataset contains the date, the star's velocity, the error on that velocity and measurements of its activity during that observation.
Jennifer Burt, a team member from MIT, said that they realized they just don't have enough members to be able to process all the data. That's why they also pointed to the open source software you can use, along with a tutorial on how to use it. The scientists themselves have already begun looking through the observations and found over 100 likely planet candidates.
The dataset has readings taken over two decades, and offers the public direct access to one of the best exoplanet searches in the world. Astronomers have proven the quality of the data by already discovering 100 additional extra solar planets. The discovery of 100 extra solar planets, includes one orbiting the fourth closest start to the Solar System. The results have been published in The Astronomical Journal.
The lead author of the paper, Paul Butler from Carnegie said, “This paper and data release represents a good chunk of my life’s work.” Jennifer Burt, of MIT said, “This is an amazing catalog, and we realised there just aren’t enough of us on the team to be doing as much science as could come out of this dataset. There seems to be no shortage of exoplanets, there are a ton of them out there, and there is ton of science to be done.”
The astronomers have obtained the search for extra solar planets, to accelerate the discovery of these celestial bodies. The raw data needed for the discoveries has already taken place. To search for exoplanets, users have to download the dataset, and process it through open source software called systemic to identify previously unknown exoplanets.