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To give you an idea of how big space really is, a robotic telescope in New Mexico has taken pictures of one million galaxies; and this does not even scratch the surface of what is out there. So how do you analyze one million galaxies? It all starts with learning about how they are formed.
Galaxy Zoo is the answer to that problem. Galaxyzoo.org is an Internet site with the images from the New Mexico telescope. Here, people can register for free, take a quick tutorial and quiz, and be on their way to helping.
In order to learn how galaxies form, they must first be classified as either an elliptical or spiral formation. Galaxy Zoo allows people to help by taking this first step. The goal is to have pictures of all one million galaxies analyzed in this manner, and to have each one looked at by twenty different people to ensure accuracy.
Scientists have learned that the human brain is far better at doing this than computers. So now you can be a part of science and exploring outer space by contributing at galaxyzoo.org. The site is currently just over half way to the goal of 20 people for every galaxy, or 20 million analyses. This is another great tool for getting people interested in astronomy and a fun activity for people who already have that excitement.
The site can also direct you to pictures and videos of outer space as well as other tools for learning about astronomy.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|