by Staff Writers
Baltimore (UPI) Oct 30, 2012
A year's worth of planet-hunting data gathered by NASA's Kepler space telescope has been made available to scientists and the public, researchers said.
The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore released 12 additional months worth of planet-searching data, meaning every observation from the extrasolar planet survey made by Kepler since its launch in 2009 through June 27, 2012, is publicly available for study and analysis.
More than 16 terabytes of Kepler data are no longer exclusive to the Kepler science team, its guest observers, and its consortium members and will be available immediately to the public, an institute release said Monday.
Since the Kepler launch the science team has discovered 77 confirmed planets and 2,321 planet candidates.
There is far more data in the Kepler archives than astronomers have time to analyze quickly, the institute said, and avid volunteer astronomers are invited to make Kepler discoveries of their own by perusing the archive through a website called "Planet Hunters" ( http://www.planethunters.org/.)
Citizen scientists can analyze the Kepler data, looking for the effects of planets as they sweep across the face of their parent stars.
Volunteer scientists have analyzed over 14 million observations so far, the institute said.
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