One of the most fun parts of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has been Galaxy Zoo, which connects our survey with citizen scientists all over the world. And now, the fun is still going!
The original Galaxy Zoo launched in July 2007, to immediate success beyond our wildest expectations. Within a few days, thousands of people had signed up to classify images of nearly one million SDSS galaxies as spiral or elliptical. The project released its data in 2009; by that time, hundreds of thousands of citizen scientists had worked together to classify each of the galaxies more than 70 times over. Since then, professional astronomers have used that dataset to publish more than 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals, with more to come.
Last week, a new version of Galaxy Zoo launched. The new site features images from the SDSS’s Data Release 9, including images of thousands of galaxies south of the plane of the Milky Way that are being shown to citizen scientists for the first time. The new site also includes images from the Hubble Space Telescope’s CANDELS survey, allowing us to compare galaxies as seen by SDSS to similar galaxies from the distant past.
The new Galaxy Zoo is open for business, and needs your help! Go to the new site and click “Classify Galaxies” to get started. Have fun, and the sky’s the limit!