“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law.
The Vanishing & Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations (VASCO) project aims at finding astro-physically interesting mismatches between historical sky surveys: ‘Which object flickered out from our celestial radar?’, ‘Which locations hint at astronomical spectacles to discover?’, ‘Which sky regions are displayed distinctly in different sky surveys?’
Answers to these questions could lead to interesting scientific findings, like new astrophysical phenomena or to — who knows — interesting targets for follow-up SETI observations. The sheer scale of current existing sky surveys prompts us to develop new computational tools, with a glamorous role given to machine learning and artificial intelligence. The project gives a forum for interaction between professional scientists with various background, serious amateurs and curious citizen scientists.