August 6, 2007

Your Astronomers Need You

This is a few weeks or months old, but better late than never. The Galaxy Zoo project is now attempting to take tedious, eye-straining work away from downtrodden graduate students. Much in the same vein as SETI@home, Folding@home, or Einstein@home, which delegate computationally-expensive but simple data-sifting work to the hard drives of people willing to keep the program running in the background, Galaxy Zoo wants to run galaxy-categorization in the background of your willing brain. The aforementioned programs search for alien broadcasts, protein assembly combinations, and pulsars respectively. Galaxy Zoo uses the power of bored people on the internet to help divide up uninspected galaxies into their morphology -- a task which can not yet be done effectively with imaging software. Since there is such now such a vast amount of data from recent galaxy surveys like the SDSS, the power of the astronomy community's usual eyeball resource, grad students, is insufficient. So sign up, and zone out looking at pretty pictures.

[via CV]