How to discover outer space

Once upon a time the big discoveries about new planets and black holes and galaxies were all made by scientists. And those scientists have access to giant telescopes. But now the world is changing. Almost anyone can make a discovery about something new in space.

Now that sounds exciting but maybe a little crazy. How can anyone, especially a young kid, do the work of a professional astronomer or scientist? Well the answer is pretty simple and it is called the internet.

The world wide web

It’s hard to believe but the internet as we know it has only been around for a very short time. At first it was used privately so that various groups of people could communicate privately with one another. But now everyone can go online.

And online is where anyone can become an astronomer and possibly make some brilliant discovery.

How to discover something in space

There are many powerful telescopes today such as the Hubble Telescope - it was invented by Jim Hubble – and these machines capture all sorts of new information from outer space.

The information they capture is often placed on web sites where anyone with a computer and internet connection can look at the data. Jim Hubble even has his own web site with many fantastic pictures of outer space. You can see some of them yourself at http://www.mindspring.com/~deline/

Now you might say that you haven’t got a huge telescope so that means you can’t discover a new planet or something. Well that may be true but there is now another way to make a discovery.

Many budding astronomers are now going online, looking at pictures and trying to figure out if there is something new to discover. And new discoveries have been made by studying photos on the world wide web. It’s called virtual observatory.

Team work

One of the best parts of this new way of observing outer space is that astronomers come together. They may meet online and can do so for free even if they live in another country. Amateur astronomers pool their thoughts. And when a group of keen people all try their best and share their ideas, there may soon be a breakthrough. It’s happened already.

Astronomers and scientists are already working together on new projects using the Internet. They are sharing their ideas and information. Many of their ideas are displayed online.

 

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