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Launching the VASCO Citizen Science Project

Villarroel, Beatriz; Pelckmans, Kristiaan; Solano, Enrique; Laaksoharju, Mikael; Souza, Abel; Dom, Onyeuwaoma Nnaemeka; Laggoune, Khaoula; Mimouni, Jamal; Guergouri, Hichem; Mattsson, Lars; García, Aurora Lago; Soodla, Johan; Castillo, Diego; Shultz, Matthew E.; Aworka, Rubby; Comerón, Sébastien; Geier, Stefan; Marcy, Geoffrey W.; Gupta, Alok C.; Bergstedt, Josefine; Bär, Rudolf E.; Buelens, Bart; Enriquez, Emilio; Mellon, Christopher K.; Prieto, Almudena; Wamalwa, Dismas Simiyu; de Souza, Rafael S.; Ward, Martin J.

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Beatriz Villarroel

Kristiaan Pelckmans

Enrique Solano

Mikael Laaksoharju

Abel Souza

Onyeuwaoma Nnaemeka Dom

Khaoula Laggoune

Jamal Mimouni

Hichem Guergouri

Lars Mattsson

Aurora Lago García

Johan Soodla

Diego Castillo

Matthew E. Shultz

Rubby Aworka

Sébastien Comerón

Stefan Geier

Geoffrey W. Marcy

Alok C. Gupta

Josefine Bergstedt

Rudolf E. Bär

Bart Buelens

Emilio Enriquez

Christopher K. Mellon

Almudena Prieto

Dismas Simiyu Wamalwa

Rafael S. de Souza


The Vanishing & Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations (VASCO) project investigates astronomical surveys spanning a time interval of 70 years, searching for unusual and exotic transients. We present herein the VASCO Citizen Science Project, which can identify unusual candidates driven by three different approaches: hypothesis, exploratory, and machine learning, which is particularly useful for SETI searches. To address the big data challenge, VASCO combines three methods: the Virtual Observatory, user-aided machine learning, and visual inspection through citizen science. Here we demonstrate the citizen science project and its improved candidate selection process, and we give a progress report. We also present the VASCO citizen science network led by amateur astronomy associations mainly located in Algeria, Cameroon, and Nigeria. At the moment of writing, the citizen science project has carefully examined 15,593 candidate image pairs in the data (ca. 10% of the candidates), and has so far identified 798 objects classified as “vanished”. The most interesting candidates will be followed up with optical and infrared imaging, together with the observations by the most potent radio telescopes.


Villarroel, B., Pelckmans, K., Solano, E., Laaksoharju, M., Souza, A., Dom, O. N., …Ward, M. J. (2022). Launching the VASCO Citizen Science Project. Universe, 8(11), Article 561.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 16, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 27, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Apr 17, 2023
Publicly Available Date Apr 17, 2023
Journal Universe
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 11
Article Number 561


Published Journal Article (11 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
This article is an open access article<br /> distributed under the terms and<br /> conditions of the Creative Commons<br /> Attribution (CC BY) license (https://<br /><br /> 4.0/).

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