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How can I contribute to the field of cosmology?

  1. Jun 2, 2013 #1
    A brief question: I am an armchair cosmologist - or maybe a "wannabe" cosmologist...it's a fine line. I am 47 years old with most of my career in software behind me but, without returning to college to become involved professionally in Astrophysics and Cosmology, I'd like to contribute to the field in some meaningful way.

    In Astronomy, for comparison, many amateur star-gazers use fairly sophisticated personally financed equipment to find exoplanets. Is there a similar method for amateur cosmologists to become involved (besides reading and learning all one can)?

    Any constructive suggestions will be appreciated!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2013 #2

    mfb

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    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Similar to exoplanets, there is a citizen science project for gravitational lensing: spacewarps
     
  4. Jun 2, 2013 #3
  5. Jun 3, 2013 #4

    turbo

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    Data-reduction is a good way to contribute. There is lots of data available, and it is mind-numbing work to go through it.
     
  6. Jun 3, 2013 #5
    I actually used this website Cosmology@Home to download the program BOINC, which allows for you to select particular programs that you can help out with. I am, as hinted by my first link, currently lending some of my CPU to the Cosmology@Home program. Whenever my computer goes idle for 5 minutes, the program boots up and starts doing its thing.

    It obviously doesn't require any work on your part, aside from downloading a few programs, but regardless, it's still a way for you to help out.

    And while I do understand that there is a difference, albeit a small one, between astronomy and cosmology, I do know that the act of recording the weather patterns of Jupiter is a very beneficial project that many amateur astronomers partake. Basically, NASA and other space agencies don't have the equipment to continuously watch Jupiter, but with the help of amateur astronomers with above-average equipment (thousands of dollars), NASA and other agencies can have access to images of the ever-changing weather on Jupiter, which would otherwise be inaccessible for them.

    EDIT:

    I recognize that the suggestion about Jupiter is a little similar to the exoplanet scenario you mentioned, but the equipment necessary to observe Jupiter would be less intensive, and therefore more accessible and easier for you to do.
     
  7. Jun 3, 2013 #6
    Thanks, all! I really appreciate the feedback...
     
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