AAS Talk

I suspect this is finally the last post relating to the AAS meeting, but I wanted to share the slides from my talk last Friday. Please note that these results are officially provisional! Talks at the AAS are just 5 minutes long (with so many astronomers it’s hard to find space) and I was definitely pushing my luck cramming this much in. As you’ll see, I’m not really one for lots of words on slides so I’ll write a brief commentary between them.


Obligatory title slide complete with names. Sorry Anze for missing out the Berkeley logo.


Pretty Sloan galaxies in need of classification; there were then a couple of slides showing the site design which I’ll presume you’re familiar with.


The picture is from BBC News ‘most emailed’. People seemed to find our competing articles funny.


Note that the first six hours showed nothing (as the server had melted). There was then a slide about the weightings, which Anze has already blogged about.


Look, it works!


The last sentence means that the result was statistically significant, although we now know that’s down to human bias and not the Universe.


I’m still very excited about getting observing time.


and about the blue ellipticals. The Milky Way forms stars at a rate of about 1 solar mass per year, so these things are really going some.


The next few slides have the provisional version on Steven’s results. This shows the fraction of galaxies which are elliptical at a range of densities, from the middle of nowhere on the left to the centre of galaxy clusters on the right.


Same thing, but showing red galaxies as well as ellipticals. People are surprised to be reminded that red doesn’t necessarily mean elliptical.


And the same thing, but for blue ellipticals and red spirals. It’s particularly interesting that red spirals seem to prefer a particular density.


And that’s it. There were some positive questions, mostly about future plans, and then it was on to the next talk.

All slides are copyright the Galaxy Zoo team and shouldn’t be used without permission.

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7 responses to “AAS Talk”

  1. Bill G. says :

    Do you have any idea how many of the people who’ve participated in this effort have some amount of formal training in astronomy?

  2. Steven says :

    I don’t think we know, but certainly not many. Jordan is undertaking a study on Galaxy Zoo classifiers’ motivations, which may give a more accurate idea on this.

  3. Bill G says :

    Where would I find that study? I’d like to contribute to it. (My reason for asking is because I am one of those people with a formal background.)

  4. Steven says :

    The web address for the project is given away by the banner at the top of the page 😉 : http://www.galaxyzoo.org

    Note that astronomy training will be an advantage, but doesn’t actually help all that much overall. Telling a spiral apart from an elliptical is fairly straightforward. The power of Galaxy Zoo comes from the shear number of participants, who all pass a tutorial test first, which turns out to be more important than their individual backgrounds. Anyway, most of our classifiers do a very good job.

    If you are just starting out helping us, you may like to wait a little while for the launch of Galaxy Zoo 2, which will aim to obtain more detailed morphological classifications. Then a bit more prior knowledge may be a greater asset. However, we are trying to design the site so that people with all levels of experience can contribute equally.

  5. Chris says :

    I think Bill was asking for the motivation study; there will be two stages. First, a random selection of interviews and second a questionnaire which anyone can complete.

  6. Bill G says :

    Thank you Chris. You’re right. I was wondering about the motivation study. I’ve been participating in the galaxy classification study for some time now.

  7. Steven says :

    Sorry about that – I obviously didn’t read my own reply to your first question!

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