* I’ve posted before about Galaxy Zoo. Since the last time I mentioned it on this blog, there have been some huge and exciting changes. The mission of the main Galaxy Zoo site has moved on from the images provided by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and on to images from Hubble. You can also participate in Moon Zoo, helping scientists to provide accurate crater counts from the moon’s surface.
* Send your face to space.
* Last week SpaceX successfully launched their Falcon 9 rocket and achieved low earth orbit. Since it looks like U.S. service to the ISS will be handled by private corporations for the near future, at any rate, this is a huge step.
* Here’s some high school students who figured out a way to take their very own pictures from space.
For those who are fans of SF (and by that I mean speculative fiction, not just SciFi), this is going to sound like a speed. It is…and then again, it isn’t. The Galaxy Zoo offered a challenge the middle of last week: Try to reach a goal of 1 million clicks in 100 hours as part of the 100 hours of astronomy. They put a nifty counter on the homepage and everything, but it under-reported the number of classifications. The final total was 2,617,570 classifications in 100 hours. Hence the title of this post. It’s just another example of the extreme popularity of citizen science. Many people will go out of their way to feel like they’re really, honestly contributing in a meaningful way to better understanding the universe we live in.
On a related note, I’m close enough to one of the top 10 Zooite locations to feel like I’ve been mentioned specifically, which is cool. Since I went to KSC last weekend, I feel as though I can assure Chris that NASA is keeping on with the business of building and launching space craft. While I’m disappointed that they’ve gone back to a rocket delivery system rather than a new orbiter like what we’re currently using, I’m pretty jazzed by the plans for the Constellation program and Orion. I hear they’re planning test launches of the Aries rockets next year and I, for one, will be right there watching them happen.
Going back to an old standby in the cool department, we get this report from the Galaxy Zoo team:
A new class of galaxy clusters has been identified by volunteers and astronomers of the Galaxy Zoo project, together with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. These clusters are rare, and have apparently gone unnoticed before, despite their unusual linear properties. Astronomers believe the identification of these types of clusters depend on the visual inspection of large numbers of galaxies, a feat which has only recently been made possible by the Galaxy Zoo project, and this may explain why they haven’t been discovered until now. “Space is, after all, really big,” said the Galaxy Zoo scientists, “and full of really surprising things.”
Be sure to read the whole article! The original paper can be found linked from the Galaxy Zoo blog.
Revisiting a previous post, I just want to let everyone know that Galaxy Zoo 2 has gone live. If you’ve ever wanted a chance to participate in something bigger than yourself and make a valuable contribution to our understanding of the universe, here’s your chance. Turn off the TV and go help with something that’s huge.