independent scientists find new world that professional astronomers had missed (comment)

Margaret DeLacy's picture


Below is an excerpt from and link to a story entitled "Citizen Scientists Discover Strange New World Pro Astronomers Missed," by Corey S. Powell that appeard on NBC News Mach online on January 11, 2019.  I would describe the participants as "independent scientists" given the level of expertise apparently needed to carry out this work.

"The observations that led to the discovery were made in early 2015 by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which stopped operating last October when it ran out of propellant. But the data about the observations lay buried in a vast trove of Kepler data. As a result, the exoplanet went undetected.

“We, the science team, initially missed this signal,” Feinstein said in the email. “It took the eyes and excitement of the citizen scientists to draw our attention to this new planet." "

"Independent" is a reference to institutional affiliation: It is not in contrast to "professional." Citizen scientists is indeed in contrast to professional scientists.