Frank Kiwy out on a hike
Credit: Frank Kiwy

Where are you from?

I'm from Luxembourg, a small country at the heart of Europe, located between Belgium, France and Germany. In fact, it's a grand duchy (a state or territory ruled by a grand duke or duchess) – the only remaining one in the world.

How did you become a NASA citizen scientist?

I was reading an article about Planet 9. At the end of the article, there was this link to the Backyard Worlds Planet 9 project. By pure curiosity, I clicked the link and started to look at a couple of flip books [in which you view images taken at different times to look for moving objects]. After a while I said to myself: "Hey, if that's a way I can contribute to science, it would be pretty cool! Just give it a try!" And that's how I became a citizen scientist.

What are your favorite citizen science projects to work on?

I love the Backyard Worlds Planet 9 project! You can dive much deeper into the subject than just doing the regular workflow you're asked for. So, for example, you can do some preliminary checking of the objects you've found in the flip books, before submitting them, or participate in side projects. You can even become a member of a superuser group and join the weekly hangouts with the scientists.

What do you do when you’re not doing science with NASA? Tell us about your job and your hobbies!

I'm a senior software developer, working for a government IT center. As you might imagine, I've been interested in astronomy since my childhood. Besides that, I love hiking.

What have you discovered or learned as a NASA citizen scientist?

I've learned a lot about brown dwarfs and Planet 9, but also acquired some basic knowledge about astrometry and photometry. I have also discovered some late T-type brown dwarfs that have found mention in several papers.

What advice would you give to others who might want to volunteer with NASA?

Just do it! You won't regret it.