PlanetQuest star field
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  About PlanetQuest

Project Background


PQ Computing





Frequently Asked Questions


Deutsch, In Arbeit




(Left-to-right, top-to-bottom) Part of the PlanetQuest mission is to appreciate the intricate workings of our own planet. We also emphasize that everyone will make discoveries with our Collaboratory. Most of our planetary discoveries will be around what are known as "eclipsing binaries"—double stars that orbit in front of each other (so the light varies as shown in this figure [top right], which is a plot of the brightness of a star with time, called a "light curve"). We obtain data from observatories all over the world, especially the brightness variations from double stars, a diagram of one in the lower left-hand corner showing the brightness variations that occur when two stars are in contact with each other. Finally (bottom right) our Collaboratory will search stars' brightness variations (light curves) for evidence of planets using your computer's spare time—a peak in the detection algorithm (red) indicating you have found a very good planet candidate. Congratulations!

Our Mission

Our Mission is to inspire the people of the world with the thrill of individual discovery, a better understanding of our uniquely precious planet, and a wider perspective on our place in the universe.


Who We Are

We are a diverse group of researchers dedicated to the search for new planets and to enabling you to join this great adventure!

Making You the Astronomer

We're building software with which you can search for and discover new planets, classify stars and learn new facts about known stars, learn much more about your world and the universe, and meet new friends. See what you'll be able to do with the Collaboratory.


What We've Done So Far

We created the Transit Detection Algorithm (TDA), which makes it possible to discover planets from ground-based observatories using the photometric (light-measuring) method. Our TDA has been adapted for use in NASA's Kepler Mission. More...