Feeds

Scientists need you to organize galaxies

1m star clusters form consternation in night sky

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A group of scientists are looking for internet volunteers to take part in what they claim will be the largest galactic census ever compiled.

The act of classifying a galaxy isn't difficult. The trouble is there's a lot of them. Scientifically speaking, the universe is ginormous, and computer programs can't hold a standard candle to the human eye for reliable star system classification.

That's why a group of scientists developed GalaxyZoo. The website seeks would-be astronomers to help sort through a collection of one million photographs of galaxies snapped by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico.

Volunteers are prompted to help classify galaxies as either elliptical or spiral — and when applicable — whether they are spinning clockwise or counterclockwise. The task should help astronomers further understand the structure of the universe.

"It is great that digital archives we have built for science are now being used by the public to look at the universe," Professor Bob Nichols from the University of Portsmouth said. "It will be great to have all the galaxies classified; it's as fundamental as knowing if a human is male or female."

After signing on, users are given a brief tutorial on how to classify galaxies followed by a quiz to test their star system spotting mettle. Once the volunteer has graduated galaxy analysis 101, they can pick through the organization's galactic scrapbook and begin the task of organizing the universe. The galaxies are categorized by several people to help prevent errors and potential astronomy-hating ne're-do-wells.

GalaxyZoo said they were inspired by projects such as Stardust@home, in which NASA invited the public to sort through dust grains obtained by a mission to Comet Wild-2.

"What the Stardust team achieved was incredible," said Chris Lintott, Oxford researcher and GalaxyZoo team member. "but our galaxies are much more interesting to look at than their dust grains."

You can begin sorting through space here. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO MURDER SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.