Citizen science

An image provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) to represent the first supernova, an explosion of stars that occurs about twice a century in each galaxy and was discovered by the Gaia space probe.

418 years ago, a new star appeared in the sky and the astronomer Kepler carefully watched it as the nights passed and its brightness dimmed. It was a supernova, an explosion that marked the end of an extremely massive star. Kepler recounted his observations in “De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii”, due to the situation in which he observed the remarkable phenomenon. In fact, no other supernova in our galaxy has been possible to observe with the naked eye since then. This weekend, many astronomy enthusiasts from both sides of the Pyrenees border gathered in Pamplona thanks to the Astronavarra and Planetarium. His notes, full of passion for discovery, also advance science, increasingly in collaborations where amateurs and professionals coexist. It is perhaps the oldest example of citizen science, something we are beginning to understand as an essential and transformative tool. Science is something so important that it does not fall on the shoulders of scientists alone; It needs the support, vision, and the huge diversity that so many people contribute, and the more the better. Thus, science will focus on issues that directly affect us, that surprise or even worry us. That’s why when citizens’ science plans listen, better science emerges. Kepler was an amateur and a scientist. Many people dream of finding a supernova or being able to cooperate in an investigation by observing how a small object in the solar system passes in front of a particular star, which will serve on a space mission that approaches that asteroid. It sounds like something out of a movie, but it’s happening right around the corner, with people who love science, and it’s beautiful.

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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