Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Amateur Astronomers Needed

Can you tell the difference between a spiral galaxy and an elliptical galaxy? Can you figure out which way a galaxy is rotating?

Spiral galaxy NGC 4414 (HST)

Elliptical galaxy M87 (CFHT)

If so, astronomers at Oxford need your help classifying millions of galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Kevin Schawinski, an astrophysicist at Oxford University, UK, is one of the team who devised the project.

"I classified about 50,000 galaxies myself in a week," he said. "It was mind-numbing."

He's hoping that involving the public will speed the work up.

"It's not just for fun," he added. "The human brain is actually better than a computer at pattern recognition tasks like this. Whether you spend five minutes, fifteen 15 minutes or five hours using the site, your contribution will be invaluable."
I use the Sloan Digital Sky Survey for my thesis work and have inspected tens of thousands of quasars and galaxies in short periods of time. It is mind-numbing. But inspecting a few hundred in a leisurely way is actually quite a bit of fun, and you could find yourself becoming a galaxy junkie in no time.

If you think you've got what it takes, why not join in?


Blogger BobG said...

Do we get paid by the hour, or by the galaxy? LOL

7/11/2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

I wish I got paid by the galaxy. I'd be a rich woman!

7/11/2007 12:50 PM  

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