Pt 2086
The age of the citizen scientist continues to be interesting – as opposed to using your computer for a screensaver to help compute bits, you can use the best computer ever – your brain – to help classify galaxies – You can listen to a podcast at SciAm too

Welcome to Galaxy Zoo, where you can help astronomers explore the Universe – The Galaxy Zoo files contain almost a quarter of a million galaxies which have been imaged with a camera attached to a robotic telescope the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, no less). In order to understand how these galaxies — and our own — formed, we need your help to classify them according to their shapes — a task at which your brain is better than even the fastest computer. More than 150,000 people have taken part in Galaxy Zoo so far, producing a wealth of valuable data and sending telescopes on Earth and in space chasing after their discoveries. Zoo 2 focuses on the nearest, brightest and most beautiful galaxies…

…Over the past year, volunteers from the original Galaxy Zoo project — people like you — created the world’s largest database of galaxy shapes. This database is already showing us surprising things about the nature of galaxies. For example, astronomers used to assume that if a galaxy appears red in colour, it is also probably an elliptical galaxy. But with your help, Galaxy Zoo has shown that up to a third of red galaxies are actually spirals. Similarly, there is a much larger number of blue ellipticals than previously thought, including a small but significant fraction of blue ellipticals that are in the process of forming considerable numbers of new stars — sometimes up to 50 times as many new stars as our galaxy.