In a galaxy far far away….

Friday, September 7, 2007 at 09:11:30

I was speaking at the Society of Cartographers - 43rd Annual Summer School this week (gentle introduction to spaceborne DEMs) and whilst only there for the day, a thoroughly relaxed and pleasant affair it was too.

The speaker after me was Daniel Thomas from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at Portsmouth. He gave an excellent introduction to astronomy and how he is involved in the massive Sloan Digital Sky Survey to map more than a quarter of the entire sky using a 2.5m telescope and 120MP digital camera. As you can imagine, it generates quite a bit of data!! Anyway, as part of the project the team want to classify the 1 million or so galaxies that will be imaged. Computers are not particularly good at this type of classification (spirals, ellipses, edges, mergers and unknowns!) so the group has set up Galaxy Zoo, a public website that allows anyone to classify galaxies for them. A brief introduction allows you to see examples of the types of things they want to classify. This is followed by a brief test to make sure you’ve understood, then away you go. Well worth a try!

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