PANOPTES: A citizen science project to discover exoplanets from your backyard using off-the-shelf hardware

Preethi Krishnamoorthy, Josh Walawender, Wilfred Tyler Gee, Olivier Guyon

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    PANOPTES (Panoptic Astronomical Networked Observatories for a Public Transiting Exoplanets Survey) is a citizen science project that aims to build a collaborative, worldwide network of robots that will survey the night sky for nearby transiting exoplanets. The PANOPTES units are designed to be low-cost, easy to build with a clear set of instructions, and constructed with readily available off-the-shelf hardware. As part of collaborative efforts, we have established an online forum for the PANOPTES community. The forum serves as a platform for everyone involved in PANOPTES to discuss with each other, to help troubleshoot during the build and deployment of a unit, and to provide feedback in improving the design. PANOPTES units have been built by school students, graduate students, astronomy enthusiasts, and citizen scientists from different countries. There are currently 18 units in various stages of deployment across the world, with at least seven more units being planned for construction. The degree of success of the project relies directly on the number of units spread over the world, as light curves from different units in the network will be combined to improve sensitivity and time coverage. In this paper, we provide an overview of the project, its scientific goals, community reach, current status, challenges, and future plans.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes VIII
    EditorsHeather K. Marshall, Jason Spyromilio, Tomonori Usuda
    Place of PublicationBellingham, Washington
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Electronic)9781510636781
    ISBN (Print)9781510636774
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2020
    EventGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes VIII 2020 - Virtual, Online, United States
    Duration: 14 Dec 202022 Dec 2020

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of SPIE
    ISSN (Print)0277-786X
    ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


    ConferenceGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes VIII 2020
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityVirtual, Online


    • Citizen science
    • Exoplanets
    • Robots
    • Transient events
    • Transiting exoplanets


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