Galaxy ZOO - a safari through the Universe !!!

SDSS LogoThe Sloan Digital Sky Survey has just opened a new web site with an exciting opportunity for the public called through a new web site called Galaxy Zoo: . It's a chance for you to participate in research efforts of the SDSS.

It's an interesting and useful question to ask whether a galaxy is a spiral or elliptical galaxy. In addition to their different shapes, spirals and ellipticals have different properties, and they are home to different populations of stars. And it's easy to tell a galaxy's type just by looking at it.


 The Galaxy Zoo

The web site.

The SDSS has images of millions of galaxies - far more than any single person could look through in a lifetime. Computers can't help with the task of classifying galaxies, because they have trouble recognizing images. So classifying galaxies is a task that is nearly impossible for computers, but easy for humans - but there are so many galaxies that a person could never look through all of them.

This is where you come in. If thousands of people all look at the galaxies together, they can classify the galaxies reasonably quickly. The web site lets you classify the galaxies. Read the main page and "How to Take Part", then register to join the project. "How to Take Part" includes a tutorial on classifying galaxies. After the tutorial, you will take a simple test of your classification skill. Once you pass the test, you can start classifying by clicking "Galaxy Analysis." Your classifications will be sent to a database that astronomers can see. We are working on a star system to recognize people who have classified the most galaxies - galaxies that you classify now will count toward your total.


The Mice


These too merging galaxies are known as The Mice. Courtesy  

If you're a teacher, your students can help too!

Let me know if you have trouble with the site. If you're a teacher and you'd like to have your students help, let me know that too. I'm planning some student activities using Galaxy Zoo, and I'd love to get your thoughts on how they should work. Enjoy, and happy classifying!

Clear skies,

Jordan Raddick

 Please send questions, comments, or suggestions by E-mail to: Jordan Raddick ( )