Galaxy Zoo – Boris Haeussler – 14/11/11

14th November 2011

Today we shall be talking to our resident scientific expert, Boris Haeussler, about Galaxy Zoo.


No! Not that kind of zoo.

Anyway, below are a couple of examples of galaxies that might make an appearance on Galaxy Zoo, the website where non-scientists are encouraged to take part in real astronomy research and classify galaxies.

On the left is M87, an elliptical galaxy which is part of the Virgo Cluster. On the right is an example of a beautiful spiral galaxy. Computers are rubbish at telling the difference between different shapes and morphologies of galaxies, which is why citizen science is a much better concept.

As well as classifying galaxies, you might find some other interesting looking objects. The Galaxy Zoo project managed to find galaxies that looked like every letter in the alphabet. Take a look at the picture below…

The Alphabet in Galaxies

Here are some links that you also might enjoy if you want to make a contribution to science:

Galaxy Zoo –

Medical Research –

SETI – The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.
Find out more here:
Get involved here:

Zooniverse – This a citizen science web portal that grew from the original Galaxy Zoo project. It hosts numerous projects which allow users to participate in scientific research from classifying galaxies to collating climate data
Find out more and get involved here:

Here’s a picture of Boris’ favourite galaxy M51!

How to tell a star from a elliptical galaxy:
M87 and star spike
As you can see, the star on the left has diffraction spikes, these are lines radiating from bright light sources such as stars in reflecting telescope images. The elliptical galaxy in the middle of the image has a ‘fuzzy’ surround, hence we know the difference!

Science in the News –

How we nearly all died but actually didn’t:

Lab-grown meat:

X-rays… to the centre of the Earth:

Dave, Boris and Emma