Published: 06-16-2009
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    NASA announces its OSCAAR program inviting amateur astronomers to join in on the hunt for exoplanets.

    NASA needs a little help in the movement to discover more exoplanets and is calling on citizen scientists to pick up where the broken-down Kepler telescope left off by participating in the Open Source Differential Photometry Code for Amateur Astronomy Research or, must easier to say, OSCAAR.  What do you need?  A telescope equipped with an electronic light detector, known as a charge-coupled device (CCD) and software capable of reading the output from the CCD with a computer.  You’ll be looking for the dip in the light of a host star as a planet passes in front of it.  But you’ll definitely be at a disadvantage compared to Kepler, which didn’t have to deal with the Earth’s atmosphere.  NASA is being realistic saying there might not be ground-breaking results, but they hope that OSCAAR users will be inspired to take their exoplanet studies further after they get a taste for photometry.