Planet Hunting – a poem by Kate Rauner

You can join the zooniverse; real science you can do,exoplanets kepler_fov

Space or climate, nature, and exoplanets too.

When planets pass before a star, its light will dim and fall;

NASA posts the data: Light curves are what they’re called.

The human brain works wonderfully for patterns to detect,

A treasure hunt for planets that amateurs can get.

But if you want more data still you can collect your own,

And find an exoplanet, be an amateur renowned.

From the NASA data, you select a likely star,

Then track its magnitude yourself to seek a planet far.

You’ll need to read and learn and then you’ll find you can begin.

You’ll need a camera and a mount; filters, software, then

You’ll need a telescope; find one you can afford;

And one more thing, if planet-hunting strikes in you a cord.

You’ll want patience in abundance, because, night after night,

You’ll record the magnitude, watch for that dip in light.

It helps to have some company, and to be warmly dressed,

But what you need more even so, is to be obsessed.

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