New content. New images. A refreshed Galaxy Zoo.
This month the advent calendar has brought you beautiful images (some covered in your name), new Zoos, and much laughter. On the 22nd day of advent the Zooniverse brings to you a new way of exploring galaxies. It’s not another galaxy related Zoo (we did that already with The Milky Way Project). It’s not a new task in Galaxy Zoo. It’s something a lot simpler: It’s words and images and even history discussing what we know and how we know it about extragalactic astronomy. We call this new section of the website “Explore Galaxies.”
Along with bringing you new content, we’re also bringing you new images!
Through your combined efforts, you’ve classified your way through the Hubble Space Telescope’s GOODS, GEMS and AEGIS images. This means it’s time for new images! Today we’re introducing to Galaxy Zoo a large batch of images from COSMOS: The Cosmic Evolution Survey. These images, taken during 590 orbits of the Hubble Space Telescope, map out a 2 square-degree region of the sky. While tiny compared to the area of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, these images are sensitive enough to see objects almost 100 times fainter! (For those of you wanting the numbers, SDSS gets to i = 22.3, while COSMOS gets to I > 27!) These images have been used to map out the distribution of dark matter and the large-scale structure of the universe. Now, thanks to you, these images can extend our understanding of galaxy morphology out to more distant galaxies and down to fainter nearby galaxies.
Day 22: Galaxies and Content, these are our gifts to you.
And more will be coming. The content we have up today isn’t comprehensive: it’s a base layer that will be growing over time. As you search for content, we’ll track what you search for and add needed content. As the Zooniverse continues to discover new things – as you discover new things – we’ll work to add that content too. For advent, we offer you a chance to start learning about galaxies on the Galaxy Zoo website, and we’ll work to make it possible for you to keep learning in the times to come.
In addition to adding content to Galaxy Zoo, we also added a set of quiz questions. This your chance to test your knowledge of galaxy related concepts, one question a day. Any of you who have used Moon Zoo (which should be all of you – really, if you haven’t already, go try it out at http://www.moonzoo.org) have seen these types of questions before. Just as we use your responses to the classification tasks to do astronomy research, we use your responses to these quiz questions to do learning research. When you answer these questions, we’ll tell you if you got them right or wrong, but because you may see the questions again (and because that friend or family member looking over your shoulder may see the question later), we can’t explain the right answer if you get the question wrong. This is only a temporary problem however. After we get enough data (sadly, this may take a year) to see what you are learning, we will post all the answers in Explore Galaxies.
On this 22nd day of Advent, our gift to you is information. Please: go read, go learn, go search, and know that more content is coming as we learn what you want to know (and let us know what you do know by answering the once a day quiz questions).