Citizen Scientists Score!

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 6,349
    Citizen scientists have contributed to an exciting galactic find via Galaxy Zoo, a crowdsourcing website.

    The Galaxy Zoo- Hubble, crowdsourcing project has released its first scientific finding to come out of its data.  A researcher from the University of Portsmouth, Tom Melvin, used the data to see how barred spiral galaxies evolved over time.  These galaxies are a subset of spiral galaxies that and appear to have a “bar” across the central bulge.  Citizen scientists used the Galaxy Zoo website to categorize galaxies as elliptical, spiral, barred spiral, irregular and so on, to contribute to Melvin’s research.  From it, he found that about 8 billion years ago only 11% of spirals were barred, but by 2.5 billion year that fraction had risen to 22% and now he estimates that more than 65% are barred.  And Melvin gave a big shout out to citizen scientists saying this “interesting result was made possible by the contributions of citizen scientists.”