Live from the AAS International Year of Astronomy Press Conference, part 2
11:08 AM: Pamela: “Galaxy Zoo takes long collaborator lists to a whole new level.” She’s showing a small sample of all the names from the Zoo 1 poster. Next, she’s talking about Zoo 2, and telling the story of 100 hours of astronomy challenge – 1 million galaxies in 100 hours. We thought this was an ambitious goal, but you did 2.6 million!
11:09 AM: “We now have a group of volunteers larger than the Italian Army.” Chris leaned over to me and says, “We need to update that, so we can figure out who we can invade now.” 🙂
11:11 AM: Now she’s revealing the research result – it’s the “Old Galaxies Spin in Sync” discovery that Raul Jimenez posted about yesterday. Read Raul’s post for more about that. I couldn’t reveal the result before now because there was a press embargo. Pamela is now emphasizing that star formation history is the *only* thing that matches up with galaxy spin direction.
11:13 AM: In addition to Raul’s spin result, Pamela is talking about the discoveries that are coming out of Daniel’s mergers research. She’s showing a picture of mergers divided up by your confidence of how likely it was that it was truly a merger. The biggest discovery from your merger classifications is that about 1-3% of galaxies are undergoing major mergers. Pamela: “this work would not have been possible without the participation of large numbers of Zooites.” Great job, everyone – you made this press conference possible!
11:16 AM: Now it’s question time from reporters – I’ll try to record the Zoo-related questions and answers.
11:19 AM: Question: “What’s the correlation between different Zoo members in terms of classification?” Answer: We were able to build separate samples based on agreement between Zooites, called “clean,” “cleanest,” and “superclean,” based on agreement between 60%, 80%, and 95% of Zooites.
11:24 AM: Question: “How do you account for human bias when classifying clockwise and counterclockwise spirals?” Answer: When we first noticed an extra amount of counterclockwise galaxies, we mirrored images of the galaxies. When you classified the mirrored images, you found the same excess of counterclockwise galaxies, showing that it’s a human bias rather than something strange about the universe. Now that we know about the bias, we correct for it.
That’s the end of the press conference. Later today, I’ll go back and add some links to these posts for more information. Do any of you have any questions about anything that was said here?