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Crowdsourcing the Search for Moving Brown Dwarfs in Crowded Fields

Presentation #339.06 in the session “Stars, Brown Dwarfs, and Binaries”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
Crowdsourcing the Search for Moving Brown Dwarfs in Crowded Fields

Many of the solar neighborhood’s constituents have yet to be found, especially those that are intrinsically faint and happen to lie within crowded sky regions like the Galactic plane. NASA’s WISE satellite has pinpointed numerous extremely cool brown dwarfs, but its ~6" angular resolution leads to severe blending and source confusion in crowded fields. We are exploring the potential for crowdsourced visual inspection campaigns conducted by citizen scientists to complete the brown dwarf census in crowded sky regions. Leveraging our WiseView image blinking software, our team of several dozen Backyard Worlds volunteers has inspected several hundred square degrees of unWISE coadds the Galactic plane, discovering 750 new moving objects, 82 of which appear to be cold brown dwarfs and low mass stars not detected by Gaia. We envision that this effort will serve as a pathfinder toward launching a larger-scale citizen science project with thousands of volunteers scrutinizing crowded field images in search of cold new neighbors to the Sun.


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