View Full Version : Help Classify Galaxies - Galaxy Zoo 2

02-17-2009, 08:08 AM
Very cool website!

Welcome to Galaxy Zoo, where you can help astronomers explore the Universe

The Galaxy Zoo files contain almost a quarter of a million galaxies which have been imaged with a camera attached to a robotic telescope (the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, no less). In order to understand how these galaxies — and our own — formed, we need your help to classify them according to their shapes — a task at which your brain is better than even the fastest computer.

More than 150,000 people have taken part in Galaxy Zoo so far, producing a wealth of valuable data and sending telescopes on Earth and in space chasing after their discoveries. Zoo 2 focuses on the nearest, brightest and most beautiful galaxies, so to begin exploring the Universe, click the ‘How To Take Part’ link above, or read ‘The Story So Far’ to find out what Galaxy Zoo has achieved to date.

Thanks for your help, and happy classifying.

The Galaxy Zoo team.


The Story So Far

The original Galaxy Zoo was launched in July 2007, with a data set made up of a million galaxies imaged with the robotic telescope of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. With so many galaxies, the team thought that it might take at least two years for visitors to the site to work through them all. Within 24 hours of launch, the site was receiving 70,000 classifications an hour, and more than 50 million classifications were received by the project during its first year, from almost 150,000 people.

Having multiple classifications of the same object is important, as it allows us to assess how reliable each one is. For some projects, we may only need a few thousand galaxies but want to be sure they're all spirals. No problem - just use those that 100% of classifiers agree on. For other projects we might want larger numbers of galaxies, so might use those that a majority say are spiral.

The task of the first Galaxy Zoo users was simpler than yours; all they had to do was split the galaxies into ellipticals and spirals and — if the galaxy was a spiral — record the direction of the arms. Using the data the project provided, we were able to prove that the classifications Galaxy Zoo provides are as good as those completed by professional astronomers.

Many projects are now underway using this data; you can read about the first few in our list of papers publishedand in progress, on the Galaxy Zoo blog and below. We’ve been successful in getting time on professional telescopes to follow up many Galaxy Zoo discoveries, too; the list currently includes the Isaac Newton and William Herschel Telescopes on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Gemini South in Chile, the WIYN telescope on Kitt Peak, Arizona, the IRAM radio telescope in Spain’s Sierra Nevada, the Swift and GALEX satellites, and the Hubble Space Telescope.

There will be much more to come, but now we know how good a job you can do we can ask for more. That’s where Galaxy Zoo 2 comes in, so over to you.

02-17-2009, 01:57 PM
Cool. Reminds me of SETI...