As part of Citizen Science Month 2023, we’re sharing excerpts from ‘Into the Zooniverse’, a series of books celebrating the projects and people of the Zooniverse.

You can find and download all editions of ‘Into the Zooniverse’ here.

Solar Jet Hunter

THERE ARE STILL MANY open questions in solar physics: How is the Sun’s outer atmosphere heated to millions of degrees? How is solar wind created and accelerated? How do energetic particles propagate through the solar system? Through studying the Sun, our nearest star, researchers hope to answer some of these questions to advance our understanding of stellar mechanisms.

One of the Sun’s most enigmatic behaviors is its bursts of energy, which can take the form of small and narrow ejections of solar material, jetted out like water spewing from a hose. These ejections of hot plasma into the solar atmosphere are known as ‘solar jets’, and studying them helps us understand a range of phenomena, such as perturbations in the solar wind.

Solar Jet Hunter is led by the University of Minnesota, NASA, Lockheed Martin, the European Space Agency, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Leiden University. To advance the study of solar jets, Zooniverse volunteers are examining data produced by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, a NASA satellite that has spent over a decade collecting data from the Sun. Through studying this data, scientists seek to establish when and where solar jets occur. Although some algorithms are capable of identifying solar jets, they are not yet as accurate as citizen scientists who, through the Solar Jet Hunter project, are helping to build a solar jet database that will be critical for future research. 

Image credit: Solar Jet Hunter Project

Summary by: Helen Spiers

Check out this project: here

View the full ‘Into the Zooniverse’ book: here