Frequently Asked Questions

What is SCOPE?

SCOPE is a Citizen Science project and is mining the data on photographic images of star spectra.

What is SCOPE looking for?

The goal of SCOPE is the classification of hundreds of thousands of stars never before classified. The citizen scientist will help with this mountainous effort.

How does SCOPE work?

The spectra of stars are made available online where they can be compared to stars with known spectra. This is done through a JAVA & PHP interface written by a PARI intern.

What do I need to do to qualify to participate?

Anyone may access the spectra of hundreds of thousands of stars never looked at before and be the first to classify the stars. You would begin by reading The Science section of this web site to learn about stars and their spectra.

Before you classify your first star, you will need to practice in the To Take Part section. You are given a number of different types of stars and asked to test your skills in classifying stars.

Once you are satisfied that you can do the classifications, then you may proceed to the Classify section.

How do I sign up?

The first time you click on the Classify menu item you can sign up. Follow the instructions to activate your account.

The use of SCOPE and access to all of its information is FREE for the general public.

The email address that is requested during registration will only be used to activate your account. The SCOPE system will NOT send any other type of correspondence to your email after registering. We promise NEVER to spam you and your email address will be kept confidential at all times.

What is a star spectrum?

The spectrum of a star is the result of absorption in the outer visible surface of the star. The outer visible surface of a star consists of gasses which absorb the continuum of light being emitted from the interior of the star. The resulting spectrum is observed as an absorption spectrum. The observed absorption spectrum depends on the composition of gases and surface temperature of the star.

How can I tell one star spectrum from another?

Some stars clearly show the a series of obvious dark lines, where others show a larger number of fainter dark lines. After some practice, the differences become striking and classification is a breeze.

How to I use the classification tools to identify a star?

The Expand Tool allows you to shift and zoom the two spectra in order to ensure that all of their spectral lines match. You can use the two large green arrows to shift the top spectrum left and right, respectively. The magnifying glasses allow you to zoom in, reset the ratio, and zoom out the two spectra, respectively. A comparison image also shows below the two spectra at all times to show how well your classification matches the unknown.