If you've ever wanted to help discover a planet, now is your chance. NASA recently announced a new website that will accept assistance from the public to help find Planet 9 (also known as Planet X). The undiscovered planet is believed to be orbiting about 19 billion miles away from the sun.
The new website allows normal citizens to search through images captured by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. According to NASA, the images "highlight objects that have gradually moved across the sky."
Any moving objects that are flagged by citizens would be prioritized by a team of scientists and later analyzed by a team of professional astronomers. If scientific findings are discovered, participants would also receive credit.
The space agency revealed moving objects are better detected by human eyes because "we easily recognize the important moving objects while ignoring the artifacts." This method of discovery was also used by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 when he discovered the former ninth planet, Pluto.
"Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 has the potential to unlock once-in-a-century discoveries, and it's exciting to think they could be spotted first by a citizen scientist," said Aaron Meisner, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, in a NASA press release.