When you wish upon a star…

…how about classifying a few while you’re gazing?  SCOPE, or Stellar Classification Online Public Exploration, needs the help of citizen scientists to observe stars and compare their features to the sun. The gases on the outer visible surface of the star absorb the light emitted from the inside of the star, and these absorption spectra are collected by a prism placed in front of a telescope lens.  These absorption spectra can vary with temperature and the composition of the gases on the star’s outer surface.

Spectra of stars that are currently not classified are made available online by PARI volunteers for comparison to stars that have already been classified.  Interested participants can read their science information section to learn more about stars and their spectra.  There is a also a special tutorial section where new users can learn what a typical star’s spectra looks like and how it can be classified.

Many thanks to Christi Whitworth for bringing such a neat project to our attention.  (Remember readers, if you have any projects to suggest, use this link!)

PROJECT SNAPSHOT:

  • Topics: astronomy, star gazing
  • Location: at home, close to home
  • Duration: any
  • Cost: free
  • Gear: computer, internetr
  • Level of Difficulty: easy
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