Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Falls under cool AND important AND useful

I don't know where I first learned about these, but recently I came across them while classifying galaxies at Galaxy Zoo. Gravitational lensing has been discussed on the forum quite a bit and one kind soul put together images of the 67 recently found, but from COSMOS images.

Anyway, I just wanted to make it a point to tell you that if you're interested at all in space, astronomy, astrophysics and just about every other related topic, but feel like it's mostly over your head, this forum is the place to go. It is populated by a large number of hard-core astronomers, astrophysicists and the like, but also the entire spectrum of humanity. Everyday people from all walks of life, all over the planet. Because of this mix you can read explanations of the amazing wonders of the cosmos, all in layman's terms, or in as much detail as you wish. It's a great place to learn about what's out there and how we're finding it. Oh yes, and you can also participate in some ground-breaking science that's fun to do!! Soon, GZ2 will debut and the world will be a better place for it. I loves me some zoo.

Finally, these everyday people are not only looking at images of distant galaxies, stars, nebulae and assorted other cool phenomenon, they are also discovering things heretofore unseen and unexplained by science. For instance, a little blue blob, noticed by Hanny, one of the everyday folks who love to classify and learn about this great big universe we live in. She posted an image on the forum and asked if anyone knew what it was (as we all do, all the time, in the zoo). Turns out she's discovered something new, unusual and very cool. Scientific papers are being written, time is being sought after on two famous telescopes, including HUBBLE. Can you imagine finding something that leads to investigation with the world's most famous telescope? You can see the little fellow here, in the very first post by Hanny:)

ps. If you've got kids interested in space and their old enough to tell clockwise from counter-clockwise, then get 'em on the zoo. My 6 yr old loves to classify with me (for about 1/2 an hour or until something shiny is noticed...).


Heidi said...

"So Heidi, what you doing tonight?" "Classifying galexies, you?"

Thanks for helping promote my nerdiness. Thaty's good stuff.

The Pirate said...

Heidi-It's fun and interesting and the folks on the forum are GREAT, but it's also highly addicting. Wait until GZ2 comes out-THAT promises to be even better:)

Heidi said...

It's a great way to relax I found. Beats mahjong.

And I'm listening to the Beach Boys, nice choice!

The Pirate said...

it is relaxing. I still classify once in a while while on here, just for the relaxation. They still need classifications, but I'm sort of holding out now that the initial papers are being written and the bias study is complete (it was notice that there's an anti-clockwise spiral bias inherent in our picking) While picking you may now see BW images and also find that some are reversed if you use the SDSS images and spectra to help in your classification. Anyhooo, don't forget to check out the "objects' section of the forum! Tons of beautiful images the animals have posted:)

Heidi said...

I think I need to have sex now just to prove I'm not a geek.