GalaxyZoo: Help Classify a Million Galaxies

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galaxyLaunching today, GalaxyZoo is asking for help from the masses of Internet users. The GalaxyZoo project is a one-of-a-kind site built to allow users to contribute their time picking through photos of galaxies. Similar to other collaborative projects like Folding@Home, any person with web access can join the project and can volunteer their computing power. The main difference between Folding@Home and GalaxyZoo is that instead of volunteering your computer’s time, you can volunteer your brain’s computer power.

galaxyWhy does GalaxyZoo need our help? GalaxyZoo says that the answer to that question is that the human brain is much better at recognizing patterns than a computer. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to classify galaxies as either spiral or elliptical. The images come from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which is taking pictures of over a million galaxies. After a brief training session, you can begin classifying the galaxies, and your findings are compared against the findings of others. After deciding whether a galaxy is spiral or elliptical, you are asked whether spiral galaxies are rotating clockwise or anti-clockwise. You can see an example of a galaxy at the right (spiral – anti-clockwise). The “work” is actually fun and you get to see a lot of great photos. Classifying the images is very quick, and is benefiting a great cause. Head on over to GalaxyZoo and get to work!


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