Archive | March 2014

Planet Four Teacher Workshop Talk

As part of the workshop on Citizen Science in Astronomy  that I helped co-organize at my research institute  (the Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Academia Sinica – ASIAA) earlier this month in Taipei, Taiwan, there was a teacher workshop. The teacher workshop was organized by Lauren Huang (ASIAA), Mei-Yin Chou (ASIAA), Stuart Lynn (Adler Planetarium/Zooniverse), Kelly Borden (Adler Planetarium/Zooniverse), and myself.

Teachers in Taiwan came to ASIAA on a Sunday to hear about citizen science and how they could use it in the classroom.  I gave a talk to introduce the traditional character Chinese translation of Planet Four and talk about the science behind Planet Four. The talk (which is in English)  is recorded so I thought I’d share:

Boulders in Inca City

Thanks to your help, we’ve been able to complete the set of Season 1 Manhattan images with 30 independent reviews. We’re now moving on to Inca City Season 1 images.  You might notice bright light-colored small smooth circles and ovals in the images showing in the classification interface. Those  features are actually boulders. HiRISE can resolve down to the size of a small coffee table on Mars, so those boulders aren’t so tiny!

It has been suggested from previous analysis that  boulders may impact the prevalence of fans and blotches in Inca City. If you come across an image that has boulders, please discuss the image on Talk (hit the ‘Discuss’ button – it appears after you click the ‘Finish’ button once you’ve marked the fans and blotches  in the images) and add the hashtag #boulders. This will mark the image as possibly having boulders, and the science team can look at these later to see if we can try and find any possible correlation with fan and blotch activity and morphology.

Below are some examples of images with boulders for reference. Click any of the images for a larger view and slide show:

Opportunity for a Summer Student to Work on Planet Four Data


I’m a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics at Academia Sinica (ASIAA)  in a Taipei, Taiwan. As part of the 2014 ASIAA Summer Student Program, we’re looking for an undergraduate student to come to Taipei for the summer, from July 1st-August 29th, to work on Planet Four related research. ASIAA operates in English, and all research will be conducted in English.  The description of the project can be found here. Details about the Summer Student Program including rules and restrictions can be found here.

Applications are due before March 28th. If you have questions or if you would  like to know more, you can contact me via email at  mschwamb AT

Animated markings

After the first day of our currently ongoing workshop for Citizen Science I have reached my personal goal for the day and created a tool to display an animated version for all the marked blotches of a PlanetFour image.

Here’s the result:

More to come in the upcoming days.