Not too long ago we announced that Galaxy Zoo has gone open source – along with several other Zooniverse projects. Part of that announcement was that it is now possible for anyone to translate the Galaxy Zoo website into their own language and have that pulled back into the main site. We love translation at the Zooniverse! Using GitHub (our code repository) means we can open up the translation process to everyone.
I’ve been answering a lot of emails about how this process works so I thought I would outline a tutorial here on the blog. If you’re familiar with GitHub, much of this will be stuff you already know. You will need a (free) GitHub account which you can get at github.com.
This tutorial also shows only one way for this process to work. It is also possible to clone the Galaxy Zoo repo on your own machine and run the app locally to test it out. That will no doubt help with checking the translation and understanding the context of all the translatable text; however, this guide shows a way to translate Galaxy Zoo that does not require you to install any additional software or run any code.
After you have completed the tutorial, you’ll have a new language file to translate. This bit is up to you and everyone works differently. You might want to use a nice Text Editor to help you out (we like lots of them, such as Text Wrangler, Textmate and Sublime Text 2). We are working on ways to assist with making this part less painful (for example, by auto-translating from Google Translate) and will blog when we do. Galaxy Zoo is about 1,000 lines of text and about 8,000 words. You can see a sample here:
The text shown in green here is the index keys used in the code and these must not be changed. We’ve tried to name them such that they are meaningful; to aid translation, they are grouped. The text shown here in red is the text that needs translating. It is important to keep the file structured correctly, with a return after each entry and keeping indentation as shown. If you only edit the red text in quotes you’ll be fine. This file is a CoffeeScript file, if you’re interested.
NOTE: If you are happy running Ruby scripts there is is a script to create a JSON file from the current translation. You can find this script here. If you’re working on your own machine you might find this easier]
When you have a completed translation, or when you’ve gotten as far as you can, you’ll need to send us the file by making a ‘pull request’. Make sure all your changes are saved and committed to your repo. You’ll find a ‘Pull Request’ button at the top of the forked repo in your account. Clicking this button shows something like this screen:
Sending the pull request alerts us that you have a file you want to add to the main Galaxy Zoo site. We’ll check that the code works and then find another speaker of your language who can read the translation and verify both that it works and that Galaxy Zoo will still make sense to native speakers. We’ll keep you posted via GitHub.
This process is not simple but it is possible to create translations without installing any code on your own machine. If you are comfortable with GitHub then just fork the repo and work locally, pushing back changes and sending the pull request when you’re ready. We’re keen to hear from people who are trying this and what languages they’re working on.
Good luck with your translation, and thank you! Hopefully we can open up Galaxy Zoo to many more people around the world.
I just wanted to add a link to a post by Zooniverse Technical Director Arfon Smith over on the Zooniverse blog:
Please go there to read it.
This development means coders can “fork” their own versions of the Galaxy Zoo code and help (for example) translate the site into other languages, providing another way for people to contribute to the great science coming out of Galaxy Zoo.
Jen’s excellent post shows many example screenshots of Navigator at work, and goes into much more detail about how to use it. Read Jen’s post here.
I’ve now used Navigator twice, once for an open evening in Oxford and once for a STEM festival at a school in Hampshire. The formats were very different: at the student open evening we gave 15-minute presentations that included classifying and then using Navigator to show and discuss the students’ classifications. The festival had about 1700 attendees in total, and Zooniverse was just one exhibit, so we had people wandering in and out in groups large and small. In Oxford we set up several computers for the students to use, and at the festival we had several iPads to go along with the desktop machine hooked up to the projector. But all were classifying in the group, and as the day went on we amassed more and more classifications to talk about.
So far I’ve found Navigator is really useful for two things in particular:
- Discussing classification difficulties and distributions: the My Galaxies tool will show you how the group’s classification of a particular galaxy compares to whatever other classifications exist for that object. Sometimes a galaxy has one clear classification that stands out, and other times it looks like nobody really agrees about whether it’s smooth versus featured. You can use that to talk about why it’s important to have so many people classify one galaxy, and how it relates to how confident you are in your own classification (and why it means you should still classify even if you aren’t sure).
- Making and testing predictions: The open night was for students about age 10, so many of them didn’t really even know what a galaxy was. The festival had students of all ages and plenty of adults as well. I showed some examples and explained that astronomers think elliptical (smooth) galaxies are made by merging two smaller galaxies together in a violent collision. From that you can predict that smooth galaxies should be bigger and brighter than featured galaxies on average, if you often make a smooth galaxy by crashing two featured galaxies together. You can use the Histogram tool to plot absolute brightness of smooth versus featured galaxies and see whether that prediction turns out to be true. (But remember that with magnitudes, more negative actually means brighter!)
I’m still pretty new to using Navigator, but I can already tell it’s a powerful educational tool and I can’t wait to see what people do with it!
Here at Zooniverse HQ we’ve been thinking a bit more about those “fuzzy blobs” we talked about during our last hangout. Many of those faint galaxies are among the most distant objects we’ve ever seen, so we really want to learn about how they’ve formed and what they look like, but in some cases they are just too faint to get a really detailed classification. We can probably learn what their overall shape is, and possibly tell whether they’re disturbed or interacting, but spiral arms? Bars? Bulge strength? Not likely. Read More…
We’re trying a new time for our hangouts to make it easier for those of our viewers in North America to tune in live. Our next live hangout will be on Wednesday the 10th of April at 7 pm GMT. That’s 9 pm in Europe, 8 pm in the UK, 3 pm EDT and 12 pm PDT. Even if you live in Hawaii you won’t have to skip your morning cuppa to hang out with us (9 am HST)!
Update: The video link and the summary post (also with a video link) are here.
If you have any questions you’d like the science team to answer live on the air, please feel free to leave a comment below, or tweet them directly @galaxyzoo. During the hangout, if we use a term you’re not familiar with, you can use the jargon gong by tweeting at us too. For example, “@galaxyzoo GONG laser guide star” would have been perfectly appropriate during the last hangout. Go on… gong us! We like it!
Next Galaxy Zoo Hangout: Friday, the 22nd of February, 2013, 3:30 p.m. GMT
We got a lot of good questions for the last live chat — keep ‘em coming! Post your questions below and/or feel free to tweet them @galaxyzoo.
Shortly before the hangout starts, we’ll embed the video in this post so you can watch from here. And during the chat, if we use a science term you aren’t familiar with, please use the Jargon Gong by tweeting us with a GONG (example: “@galaxyzoo GONG spiral density wave”); we’ll be happy to stop and explain!
Update: The summary of the hangout, and the video, are now here.
It’s amazing what happens when you actually publicize your live chat in advance. We got so many questions, we decided to spend the entire chat just discussing them, and we still didn’t finish!
Partly that’s because we had a surprise guest appearance from the esteemed Ron Buta, who came in just after we had talked about some of the details covered in his Galaxy Morphology article (his Figure 3 is shown in the image). Ron worked with Gérard de Vaucouleurs — aka GdV — and told us some amusing stories about trying to take photometric* observations of dwarf galaxies, and about how GdV’s wife used to disagree with his morphologies, at one point looking over his shoulder and proclaiming, “no, there’s no ring”. I rather liked that story as it’s a reminder that anyone can spot patterns in galaxy images.
We’ll try to answer those questions on the previous blog post that we didn’t get to there — but in the meantime, here’s the video:
Left to right: Ron Buta & Bill Keel, Karen Masters, Kevin Schawinski, Brooke Simmons (me). Toward the end (not shown on the thumbnail), Kyle Willett arrived just in time to answer a question about the status of the latest Galaxy Zoo classification set.
We made ample use of the jargon gong on ourselves, but we may not have managed to define all the terms Ron used. We’ll try to do so in this post — if we’ve missed any please say so in the comments!
*photometry = precise quantitative measurements of the brightness of objects in the sky. You need very good observing conditions to take photometric measurements, which many (but not all) astronomical projects require.
Update: Now in podcast form:
Last week Karen Masters suggested that we start doing Galaxy Zoo live chats a little more often. I thought that sounded like a great idea, and we figured we’d just have an informal chat about whatever galaxy/Zooniverse topic we felt like discussing that day.
We were joined by Kyle Willett and Kevin Schawinski, and the four of us started talking about this paper, which presents an automated system for classifying and measuring spiral arms. It compares to Galaxy Zoo 2 data within the text, and we talked about what the fact that the computers did pretty well means for the future of Galaxy Zoo. We didn’t prepare anything in advance, and I didn’t even start reading the paper until about 20 minutes before we got going. So my favorite part of the chat is where I put forward a few definitions of pitch angle and get them all wrong. Science in action!
We also introduced the jargon gong, which we used on each other whenever one of us said something in insider-speak. I think this is a feature worth keeping, and we also plan to invite viewers to gong us themselves via Google+ or Twitter for the next chat.
When will the next chat be? We’re not sure yet, but hopefully soon — I promise I’ll even try to make a blog post before we start next time!
Update: We’ve now extracted the audio into an mp3 file and started a podcast:
This post was written by Kyle Willett. He is a postdoc at the University of Minnesota and a member of the Galaxy Zoo science team.
It’s been a couple of weeks since the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Long Beach, California. Kevin and Bill already made several excellent posts on their conference experience (tip: showing data hot off the telescope and having Swiss chocolate at your poster really generate foot traffic). I wanted to write a bit more about the research that I presented and how it related to other topics at the meeting.
My poster was up during on the third day of AAS, in the “Catalogs” section of the big poster hall. This is a bit unusual in that the posters there were sorted more by their methods, rather than science content. A group like this is useful for identifying projects with similar challenges, including curation of large data sets, reduction techniques, and how to best publish the data so the scientific community will recognize and use it. The content varies widely, though – I got to compare what galaxy morphologies might have in common with catalogs of bright stars, exoplanets, and infrared mosaics.
The content of my poster focused on three topics. The first was a description of the Galaxy Zoo 2 project, describing the new questions we developed (and that you answered) and the sample of galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey that the results cover. This is slightly different from the original Galaxy Zoo, since GZ2 uses a brighter sample of galaxies in which more detail can be seen.
The second portion was my work on data reduction for the Galaxy Zoo 2 catalog; in particular, the way in which we demonstrate that more distant galaxies appear smaller and dimmer in the classification interface, and how this can be corrected. I showed data for 4 of the questions (smooth vs. features? is it an edge-on disk? is there a bar? are there spiral arms?) as examples of successful corrections that we’ve already done. The remaining 7 are being finished this week, with results looking good so far.
Finally, I had a section summarizing the science results from using Galaxy Zoo 2 data. So far, these have all been led by members of our own science team (which you can find here). Our goal in releasing the full catalog, though, is to make GZ2 a community resource – we want other groups to use the data and write even more interesting papers. We know we have a unique data source – the challenge is to reduce it properly, put it in a useful public format, and help publicize it by writing papers and attending conferences.
I had a lot of good conversations with other astronomers at this meeting, many of whom are very keen to see the data come out. Several interesting presentations raised questions we can explore with GZ2. I was intrigued by Michael Rutkowski’s (Arizona State) talk on the surprising amount of star formation and diversity amongst early-type galaxies, as well as Benjamin Davis’ (Arkansas) talk on using computers to measure the angle of spiral arms and how it relates to their central black holes.
Overall, it was a great meeting both for general astronomy and for Zoo-related projects. The science team and I are finishing the first draft of the data release paper this month, and we’ll be submitting it to a journal shortly after. I’ll keep writing as we make progress – as always, thanks for your classifications that make my work possible!
3000 astronomers will bring down the wireless in any building, so I have been a bit behind in posting from the American Astronomical Society meeting in Long Beach CA…
Yesterday, Bill Keel presented a poster with the latest Hubble observations of the Voorwerpjes in the Giant Room Full of Posters, where astronomers, pretty much ALL of who work on absolutely cool stuff, present their results. So, anything you can do to get peoples’ attention helps! I decided to bring along some chocolates from Switzerland. If any unwary astronomer walked past and took one, they then had to at least look at the poster… ; )