Let's Go Supernova Hunting

We have a special challenge for you this week – Galaxy Zoo is going Supernova Hunting.

A supernova is an exploding star, capable of outshining an entire galaxy. We have a robotic telescope in Palomar, California sending us candidate objects from the galaxies it scans, and a team of Oxford astronomers are on their way to the Canary Islands to follow up the most likely.

The choice of galaxies to follow-up on is in your hands – we’ll be posting new data each day, and keeping a running list of those candidates that most Zooites think are likely supernovae. Get clicking…and you might well be the first to discover an exploding star.


(P.S. This is a prototype of a much larger project so all feedback and comments – good and bad – are of course welcome either here or on the forum.


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10 responses to “Let's Go Supernova Hunting”

  1. Anonymous says :

    This is amazing stuff, supernova hunting…fantastic! I was just wondering if we’re going to get some examples we can use in our classifications, just so we don’t too excited about a star seemingly exploting into some breathtaking fireworks.

  2. geebers says :

    It sounds interesting, Chris. I’ll check out what’s in the forum.

    …uh, is this an opener for “Supernova Zoo”?


  3. Adrianus V says :

    Very interesting! And via the supernovae found we can start a hunt for dark energy. The Dark Energy Zoo. 🙂

  4. lpspieler says :

    I have just taken a look at the “How to take part” page for the supernova project. It would be good if the correct classifications (clean/wrong subtraction, not circular etc.) for the examples given were accessible somewhere, just as is the case for the examples in the main project.

    Fascinating project anyway.


  5. lpspieler says :

    After having tried to classify for the first time, I’ve noticed that the question tree differs substantially from what ist described on the “How to take part” page for the supernova project.

    For example, I’ve never been given the opportunity of rejecting a candidate for beeing too small (as described in “How to take part”). On the other hand, the question “Is the candidate centered in its host galaxy” is not at all described in the “How to take part” text. There are some more differences.

    Maybe some adjustments between the classification questions and the help page have yet to be made.


  6. Arfon says :

    Thanks for the feedback lpspieler. I’ve just updated the tutorial to reflect the question tree.


  7. GwydionM says :

    Could we have an example of a star that is centred? Do we count it if the star was part of a greater blob before subtraction?

  8. jsb16 says :

    I’d love to see a few examples (after the weekend, maybe?) of candidate objects along with how the crowd answered the questions for each and what the astronomers decided, both for objects the Oxford team decides to follow up on and those you discard.

    • Chris says :

      We won’t know quite how we’ve done until Mark & Sarah follow up on the targets – but yes, we’ll show off what we’ve got, good and bad…

  9. jussi13jk says :

    I’ve read the direc tions on finding supernova, looked at all the samples, tried to classify BUT….I cannot tell one dot from another. Even in the samples you give, I cannot tell good from bad candidates. They all look the same to me. Am I doing something wrong?

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