Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Help classify galaxies with Galaxy Zoo
Galaxy Zoo is fun for the whole family!
Galaxy Zoo is an open and public experiment in bringing astrophysics to the masses. Just visit http://www.galaxyzoo.org/ to register. Thousands of people from around the world already play an important role in classifying galaxies using simple visual techniques. A short training tutorial is provided for all participants.
The site presents images of galaxies taken by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and you are asked to classify them as spiral, elliptical, merger, irregular, etc. The reason people are doing this task instead of computers is that people are actually better and faster at visually classifying astrophysical objects. Imagine that! I've been doing this for over a year now and I have a wonderful time at it. I've noticed a few people scratching their heads when I classify galaxies while sitting around in Starbucks. They probably think I'm a mad scientist which delights me no end.
Anybody can join in, even kids. It is a great way to start playing an important role in science. Sign up now, and please leave your comments about your experience here.