Going to the Zoo 2

Tonight, following the rather understated countdown on Twitter, the long awaited Galaxy Zoo 2 was launched 90 minutes ahead of schedule. Galaxy Zoo gave us all the relatively simple task of sorting images of galaxies into either ellipticals or spirals. If they were spirals we then had the further task of saying if they were clockwise or anticlockwise spirals. Although this was something a 10 year old could easily do, I heard that it did prove more tricky for certain unnamed physics professors.

In Zoo 2 the questions get much more detailed. There are questions that determine the smoothness of galaxies, their ellipticity, properties of the spiral arms and even the central bulges. In fact, it looks as though everyone taking part in Zoo 2 will quickly become experts is recreating Hubble's famous tuning fork diagram.

As in the first incarnation of the Zoo, it is the unexpected that can prove the most interesting. The Zoo Keepers have added in options to report different types of unexpected shapes to help spot galaxy mergers, rings, gravitational lenses, and other interesting things.

We're all going to the Zoo. You can come too.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Tuesday 17th Feb 2009 (01:20 GMT) | Permalink
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