NASA needs your help in finding new ninth planet

New York [USA], Feb. 17 : NASA has called on the world to help it in the search for the new ninth planet, as anyone from a kindergartener to a 95-year-old, can participate in their new project to find the not-yet-discovered celestial body.

To let anyone participate in this search project of ninth planet, the Zooniverse space projects site has launched a NASA-funded venture, Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, reports CNN.

"There are really low barriers to entry," Dr. Laura Trouille of Zooniverse.

NASA has compiled a "flipbook" of short animations that shows sky scans taken over several years and so far, 4,201 people have joined the mission.

The participants can search for disruptions in the images -- basically, clusters of tiny coloured dots -- and mark their findings.

Their goal is to pinpoint real moving celestial objects and can then discuss their subjects in an online bulletin board.

The "flipbooks" were compiled during a mission by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).

The infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope can detect darker objects that are farther away.

There is a broad area -- around four light-years -- between Neptune and the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, that receives very little sunlight and this means that objects in that zone cannot reflect light -- and therefore are very hard to find.

So why not just program computers to sift through the data? Well, NASA says the images can easily fool processing systems, so they need human eyes to do the work.

A similar technique helped Clyde Tombaugh discover Pluto in 1930, but it took him 7,000 hours.

NASA hopes the combination of professional astrophysicists and crowd-sourced scientists around the world will make finding Planet Nine a bit easier.

The project could take four years to complete, NASA astrophysicist Marc Kuchner said. (ANI)