Space is so vast and full of mysteries that several scattered astronomy organizations are not enough to study it entirely. This is why a team from the Carnegie Institution of Science has just released 20 years worth of Keck data for the entire world to read. The W.M. Keck Observatory is located in Hawaii, and it is among the largest astronomy study tools in the world. The observatory made great use of its High-Resolution Echelle Spectrometer to collect data from around 1,600 stars over the last 20 years.
The international team of astronomers has just released Keck data for a more transparent world of science. This amount of information managed to track down around 110 stars that show signs of being exoplanets. Along with data, the researchers made available to the public an open source software. This tool helps those who are interested in astronomy to fully understand all the observations collected over the course of 20 years. There is also a tutorial that teaches viewers how to use this software.
The purpose of this massive move is to recruit more people who desire to find out alien homes up in the skies. The collected data is simply too large for a team with a limited number of members to learn. Moreover, people need to find proof that these 110 stars that show great potential are indeed exoplanets. Jennifer Burt is a member of the team and also a postdoctoral student at Kavli Institute from MIT. She believes that a larger community has higher chances to find something noteworthy than her team. The complete list of Keck data can be found on the official website of the Carnegie Institution of Science.
Unlike other telescopes, the Keck Observatory is programmed to track exoplanets down by analyzing how the gravity of an orbiting object affects its star. Usually, a moving planet leaves some signs behind such as changing the radial velocity of its star. The Keck Observatory is searching the skies to detect exactly this kind of alterations. Johanna Teske that works for the department of terrestrial magnetism at Carnegie hopes that these efforts will be just the beginning. To her opinion, these released Keck data can encourage even NASA to adopt a more transparent policy regarding their studies. The positive effects of this strategy can be the creation of a worldwide community that is devoted to finding exoplanets.
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