Enhancing Galaxy Zoo

We’ve just switched on what may be the biggest change to Galaxy Zoo since the project started more than a decade ago. In order to prepare for future surveys like Euclid and LSST which might overwhelm even the stalwart efforts of Galaxy Zoo volunteers, we’re now running an automatic classifier which works with those results from volunteers.

This machine – even when trained on the existing Galaxy Zoo results – is not perfect, and so we still need classifications from you all. Each night, the machine will learn from the day’s results, and then calculate which galaxies it thinks it most needs human help with – and if you select the ‘Enhanced’ workflow, then you’ll be much more likely to see these galaxies.

You can read more about the machine learning we’re using in a blogpost from Mike Walmsley here, and in more technical detail here. (There’s a paper available on the arXiv from this morning too). We’re also running a messaging experiment you can read about here.

We do still need volunteers to look at each and every galaxy to make sure we’re not missing anything. If you prefer to classify the old-fashioned way, then the ‘Classic’ workflow is Galaxy Zoo just as it always was.

I and the rest of the team are looking forward to seeing what we can find with this new approach – and with your help.

Chris

2 responses to “Enhancing Galaxy Zoo”

  1. Joe Crum says :

    Is there a way to determine if you are running in the “enhanced” mode? Maybe I’m missing it, but I’m not sure when I start the process if it’s in the new mode.

    • Mike says :

      Hey Joe,
      If you hit the ‘enhanced’ button on the main page (under ‘get started’), you’ll be using that mode! To check, open the tutorial – if you’re in enhanced mode, the first tutorial slide will mention this.

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