Thursday, April 2, 2009

Help Map the Universe

Galaxy Zoo is asking the internets for a favor: help describe the universe. Specifically, they want laypeople to help classify the hundreds of thousands of galaxies in their database:
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.
You look at images like these:

And answer questions like these:

And by doing so you will have contributed to the wisdom of crowds. And, as we're evidently meant to be learning about astronomy over the next few days, Galaxy Zoo is trying to classify a million galaxies in that time, so you can help them hit that goal. What's more, since human beings are the organs by which the universe perceives itself, this project is an attempt by the universe at self-perception; and who wouldn't want to take a few minutes out of their day to expand the self-awareness of the universe?


BilabialBoxing said...

And what's the correct answer for that one I wonder? Smooth?

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That one's definitely a spiral galaxy - the smooth ones really just look like featureless smudges or blobs.

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