Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Finally, all of that hard work I did clicking...

When I found out that I could help out with an astronomy research project over the internet, I was pretty damn excited. Of course, it's not just me helping out, but thousands of people around the world categorizing elliptical and spiral galaxies on a site called Galaxy Zoo. It's rad: you get images of different galaxies, and classify them based on the type. The project is meant to see if there is a preponderance of elliptical or spiral galaxies in the universe, and if so, which direction most of the spiral galaxies are turning (clockwise or counter-clockwise). As it turns out, our universe is lopsided.

They write in the article:

The survey has revealed that the collections of millions of stars, dust, gas and planets in galaxies prefer to rotate anticlockwise from the viewpoint of an observer on Earth.

Traditionally astronomers have believed that galaxies would spin either clockwise or anti-clockwise in equal proportion. But these observations would seem to suggest that either a mysterious force is acting on them or that the universe is in some way lopsided.

I think this project was an incredible success, and a model for future endeavors in large-scale classification. Also, it was incredibly fun to participate in, as I got a host of cool galaxy images to download onto my computer for my screensaver.

1 comment:

Joan said...

You know, with all the Aquaman comics you had, I would have figured you'd be an oceanographer or marine biologist.

I like you anyways.