January 16, 2010

The Exoplanet Seeker

Today, I just unveiled a convenient way for exoplanet researchers and enthusiasts to "seek" data about specific exoplanets from highly-targeted sources. I call it "The Exoplanet Seeker". It's a simple interface to enable anyone to easily query numerous exoplanet databases on the web to find data on an exoplanet of choice. Currently, it can be found at the homepage at http://www.exoplanetology.com for easy access.

Current exoplanet data sources include the Extrasolar Planet Encyclopedia, NASA's PlanetQuest New Worlds Atlas, The Planetary Society's Catalog, Exoplanets.org's table, ArXiv, and so on.

As you can see, each database has it's own unique focus and presentation. For example, The Planetary Society's Catalogue has orbital diagrams, while exoplanets.org has the lightcurves, and Planet Quest's New Worlds Atlas has the nice graphical charts.

So the Exoplanet Seeker acts as a junction point to all these great sources of exoplanet data. More sources will be added as they come along. And of course, more exoplanets will appear in the auto-suggest list as they get entered into Freebase which powers the auto-suggest feature.

And the great thing about all this is that anyone can contribute by adding data into Freebase--which is easy: just copy the data from the reputable sources! [eyebrows rising sharply? tee-hee] Perhaps this is just the beginning of "Open Source Exoplanetology" via Citizen Science.

The interface that I provided is just a tip of the possibilities if enough exoplanet data is entered on Freebase. Many exoplanet apps can be made from the wealth of free structured data on the Freebase platform.

To use the Exoplanet Seeker, simply start typing into the empty field and a list of exoplanet suggestions will pop up so you can choose accordingly. Then select an exoplanet data repository to search from. Finally, click the "SEEKER" button to search data about that exoplanet from the source database that you've chosen. A new browser window will be opened showing the search results from the external website providing the exoplanet data.

Please enjoy The Exoplanet Seeker and I welcome your comments, and will dodge violent reactions. Do let me know any of your suggestions.

Happy Exoplanet Seeking!