I’m briefly turning aside from the normal type of my posts to tell you about the fascinating afternoon I have spent today.
VERY dramatic. Possible close encounter of 2 galaxies.
Above left appears distorted.
Lower spiral also looks stretched. 3rd galaxy in view?
Having been to an excellent University of the Third Age lecture on the ‘Life and Death of Stars’, (relieved that there will be no exam at the end of the course!) I returned home enthusiastic to re-engage with classifying galaxies on the Galaxy Zoo website. If you haven’t encountered this and like a simple science-based challenge, then do take a look at their website (link at bottom of this post). It’s an excellent example of ‘Citizen Science’. You will be shown galaxies, recently recorded by one of the major telescopes and invited to classify them, working through a series of simple choice questions. I’m not sure I’m particularly skilful at this yet – but with all but the most straightforward galaxies (shown by a series of examples), there is an opportunity to make comments that of themselves may be useful to the astronomy teams that could not possibly manage the vast number of classifications of images coming from our major space and land-based telescopes without this community assistance
Two things particularly appeal to me in these sessions (which can be as long or short as you choose)
· *I know I am making a small contribution to real scientific endeavour (an encouraging thought for an armchair scientist like myself)
· *I just might be able to draw attention to a never-seen-before feature in one of the galaxies I classify.
Stirring stuff – and if the idea appeals to you too, you’ll be very welcome on the website at www.galaxyzoo.org
Here are two of the amazing images I’ve been asked to classify this afternoon, with my remarks.
Beautiful formation with ‘halo’ aound galaxy core
and spirals extending from the ‘halo’, not the galactic centre - unusual!