Faversham man discovers planet
Mark Hadley, who has
discovered a planet using information received on his laptop
Faversham stargazer Mark Hadley is certainly not a waste of
space – the amateur astronomer thinks he may have discovered a new
The father-of-two noticed the potential planet after looking at
the brightness of stars in the sky.
By analysing the light output of a star Mark is able to tell if
a new planet is passing by. If the star appears to loose brightness
it could mean an undiscovered planet has just crossed the star’s
Mark, who lives with his family in Ashford Road, made the
startling discovery after joining Planet Hunters - a project set up
to help sieve through data taken by the NASA Kepler space
"This is a planet candidate. The scientists at Oxford University will now have to look at it to see if it is actually a planet" – Stargazer Mark Hadley
He said: “This is a
planet candidate. The scientists at Oxford University will now have
to look at it to see if it is actually a planet but it looks to be
same size as Jupiter.
“This is a hobby of mine so it was quite a shock when I actually
found something! I do not use telescope, it is about looking at the
patterns in the sky. In fact I do it all from my armchair in
Faversham. I have looked at 3,000 data sets but there are several
“I am part of a team who spotted this change and we just have to
wait to hear whether it is a planet or not now.”
The Planet Hunters project is a collaboration between Yale
University and the Zooniverse.
The online resource allows the public to look at data collected
through a satellite and it has been measuring the brightness of
160,000 stars every 30 minutes for the last four years.
Now Mark, an engineer, who has lived in Faversham for 19 years,
even believes moons orbiting the planet could support human
He added: “It is the right distance from the star to support
liquid but this is unlikely as it is a gas giant.
"However, if there are moons orbiting the planet then they could
well support water and that could support life.”
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