Planet Hunters: the first two planet candidates identified by the public using the Kepler public archive data


  • This publication has been made possible by the participation of more than 40 000 volunteers in the Planet Hunters project. Their contributions are individually acknowledged at


NSF Fellow.

Einstein Fellow.


Planet Hunters is a new citizen science project designed to engage the public in an exoplanet search using NASA Kepler public release data. In the first month after launch, users identified two new planet candidates which survived our checks for false positives. The follow-up effort included analysis of Keck HIRES spectra of the host stars, analysis of pixel centroid offsets in the Kepler data and adaptive optics imaging at Keck using NIRC2. Spectral synthesis modelling coupled with stellar evolutionary models yields a stellar density distribution, which is used to model the transit orbit. The orbital periods of the planet candidates are 9.8844 ± 0.0087 d (KIC 10905746) and 49.7696 ± 0.000 39 d (KIC 6185331), and the modelled planet radii are 2.65 and 8.05 R. The involvement of citizen scientists as part of Planet Hunters is therefore shown to be a valuable and reliable tool in exoplanet detection.