Inside the first results

As Jordan’s already said, this blog is supposed to give you, our users and collaborators, a window into the research we’re doing. As I suspect most of you know, we’re working on a set of papers which will hopefully be submitted to a journal in the next month or so. The first set will probably contain four papers, and I thought I’d give you a run down of what each of these four is designed to do.

Although the whole team will be listed as authors (and we’ll include a link to the site which gives credit to those of you who have chosen to enter the names on the special page on the site), each is being led by a different team member. My paper is a general overview of the project, including a discussion of the process by which we’ve gone from clicks on the webpage to a catalogue of galaxies. The idea is to provide all the information that others working with our data might need in one place, and to avoid having to duplicate information in each of the individual papers.

Steven (in Portsmouth) is writing a paper that focusses on comparing the spirals and the ellipticals; he has to be more careful than most to account for the tendency of faint fuzzy things to be classified as elliptical galaxies, and has developed a whole set of tools to keep an eye on this. The results are excellent; we’ve always known that ellipticals tend to live in denser environment than their spiral counterparts, but with Galaxy Zoo we can really look at the details of this relation.

Kevin’s paper discards most of the galaxies to focus on some of the oddballs; the infamous blue ellipticals. Most elliptical galaxies are supposed to have finished star formation long ago, but these are still going strong. We’re planning to publish a list of these in the paper so hopefully other people will be able to follow them up alongside us.

Finally, Kate and Anze are leading the cosmology study, looking at the rotation direction of spirals. They’re desperate to get the bias study that’s now underway done so that their paper can be finished off – that’s the most critical thing at the moment so every classification you make gets us closer to being able to release the first science results.In the meantime you’ll hear more about each of these projects over the next week or two on this blog, but do comment in the meantime either here or on the forum.

I’ll finish with a couple of mea culpas – when I send out the email announcing our Christmas gift to you, I should have said that the link was on the left of the analysis page, and realised that for some of you it was the Summer Solstice. I won’t make either mistake again (just different ones). Chris

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