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Fight the ‘galaxy wars’…

Courtesy: NASA/Space Telescope Science Institute

By Hamish Johnston

Are you bored and sitting in front of a computer — then why not spare a few minutes for astronomers in need?

The people that brought you the Galaxy Zoo online project — which uses members of the public to help astronomers classify galaxies — have launched a new project called Galaxy Zoo 2.

The original Zoo began 18 months ago by astronomers who realized that they had discovered far more galaxies than they knew what to do with. So they asked the public to decide whether a galaxy is spiral or elliptical and which way it is rotating. So far, more than 150,000 “armchair astronomers” have make 80 million classifications of 1 million different objects, say the Zoo’s keepers.

Scientific results include the discovery of over 3000 merging galaxies, some of which are being investigated further by astronomers.

Now Galaxy Zoo 2 is asking folks to “delve deeper into 250,000 of the brightest and best to search for the strange and unusual”. This is done, for example, by pitting objects against each other in “galaxy wars” to decide which one is more “spirally”.

You can read all about the original Zoo in this article in Physics World written by two of its founders.

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