Blood Oranges are just like Hubble Galaxies

Hubble CANDELS zoom

Astronomers always want better images. Sometimes it’s possible right away; other times doing better requires new technology and/or waiting for the next generation of telescopes. We have both kinds of “fuzzy blobs” in Galaxy Zoo, and during this hangout we showed several examples. For a couple of hangouts now we’ve been meaning to address some of the most frequently asked questions about the faintest, most distant galaxies we ask volunteers to classify:

  • what are they?
  • why are the images so fuzzy?
  • can we get better images of them now or in the future?

Given the data we have, the short answer to the first question is that we don’t yet know for sure — and, perhaps most importantly, we don’t need to know all the details. We can learn quite a lot from classifying even faint, fuzzy objects. Some of the faint galaxies on Galaxy Zoo are among the most distant galaxies ever imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, and we don’t necessarily expect them to look like galaxies we see more nearby, so classifications from our volunteers are helping us to understand them even when we don’t have all the information we might want.

And what would it take to give us the information we want? What’s the future of astronomy after Hubble? How can we get better data than we have right now? Do we need to go into space to do it? (And what else are we working on right now, anyway?) Answers given in the video:

This is a great time to be working on Galaxy Zoo: there’s plenty to classify and analyze, and — of course — plenty to discuss. So stay tuned for next time!

Note: for those who prefer audio only, here’s a link to the podcast version.

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8 responses to “Blood Oranges are just like Hubble Galaxies”

  1. Thomas Bak says :

    A question to Karen Masters regarding her paper comparing blue and red galaxies. The discussion indicated that there did not have to be a dramatic change in star formation rate for a galaxy to “flip” from blue to red. And, as was stated, the best theory supposes that star formation slows because gas accretion into the galaxy slows or stops. Is it theoretically possible for this process to reverse and, if so, how would one design an experiment to find out if this had happened to a blue galaxy?

  2. Jean Tate says :

    Another great Hangout!

    I have a new question, following the post-Hangout discussion on clouds (see comments on the other blog post): has any ‘grey dust’ been discovered in the interstellar (or intergalactic) medium? If so, some details please; if not, what lower limits have been put on its existence?

    By ‘grey dust’ I mean dust which is large compared with the wavelength of light, so the scattering of light will be Mie scattering, not Rayleigh (which scatters blue more strongly than red). See this Hyperphysics page
    for more details.

  3. Jean Tate says :

    For those interested, there’s quite a bit of discussion on the CANDELS images – especially the faint, blobby, highly pixellated ones – in the latest version of Galaxy Zoo, in the “chat board” Talk thread The second Zooniverse Project Workshop in Chicago! It’s mostly on pages 7 and 8; click this link – which takes you to the top of page 8 – to get close to the middle.

  4. GaryR says :

    What about providing better closed captions (subtitles) than YouTube’s speech recognition version which only produces unintelligible captions???

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