SETI Institute and Unistellar: A Citizen Science Partnership

The SETI Institute partners with Unistellar, a company that intends to reinvent popular astronomy through the development of the Enhanced Vision Telescope (eVscope), a mass-market digital scope that fits in a backpack.

The SETI Institute and Unistellar are partners in a unique citizen science collaboration. The Unistellar eVscope is a smart, digital, portable consumer telescope capable of deep sky observations that can also collect research-quality data for citizen science astronomy. With a global network of more than 8,000 users, SETI Institute researchers can mobilize teams to conduct observations to lead to significant scientific discoveries and contributions. These observations have included:

  • Asteroids: Successful observation of the Trojan asteroid Eurybates, target of the NASA Lucy mission, as it crossed Europe, deriving for the first time its complex shape.
  • Exoplanets: An ongoing exoplanet detection program to help confirm exoplanet candidates identified by TESS by observing possible exoplanet transits from Earth
  • Planetary defense: DART mission observations on Reunion Island and in Kenya successfully captured the impact, including the formation of clouds and material after impact, a brightening, a plume and later the formation of a faint tail of ejected material
  • Comets: A new program to better understand the changing activity of comets as they approached the inner part of the solar system
  • Transient events: A new program to support surveys like ZTF and the upcoming Vera Rubin telescope, and monitor cosmic cataclysms, like super-novae

Astronomy, space exploration and the question of life in the Universe are compelling platforms for public engagement. The partnership between the SETI Institute and Unistellar helps to foster science literacy, accelerate research and build more widespread support for and trust in science. The goal of the collaboration is to create a more efficient astronomy that is more inclusive and open to as many people worldwide as possible.

Franck Marchis, a senior planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute and chief scientific officer at Unistellar, leads the scientific collaboration between the SETI Institute and Unistellar.

As a result of observations conducted by the Unistellar network, SETI Institute scientists have published peer-reviewed articles in leading scientific journals and presented at scientific conferences, often including citizen scientists as co-authors. Click here to view list.


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