Last year we had so much fun celebrating all that we (including you) had accomplished over the first 8 years of Galaxy Zoo. This year, for our 9th birthday, we thought we’d hand things directly over to you. We sent out a newsletter asking people about their favorite Galaxy Zoo science. We asked people to rank five choices:
- Hanny’s Voorwerp & the Voorwerpjes (ionized clouds and active galaxies)
- Green Peas (highly compact & star-forming galaxies)
- Red spirals (disk galaxies with no/little star formation)
- Blue ellipticals (spheroid galaxies with ongoing/retriggered star formation)
- Bars (the galaxy kind; how this mode of disk galaxies drives galaxy evolution)
We’ve now collected just over 200 responses and combined your rankings. Although the distributions were pretty similar, and all the options had plenty of people choosing it as their favorite, one of the options jumped out as a pretty clear leader (at least in this rather informal poll).
Of course, the list we asked people to choose from is by no means complete, especially if you include not just the main Galaxy Zoo but also its related projects. In the “Other” box we had a variety of entries, with some mentioning galaxies found in Radio Galaxy Zoo and others citing those seen in Galaxy Zoo: Bar Lengths. Plenty of people mentioned galaxy mergers, and gravitational lenses got a few mentions too! If we had a complete list the rankings would likely be different, but then again, that would be such a long list I’d be worried many fewer people would want to answer.
We also had a space for people to enter whatever text they wanted at the end of the survey, and the responses were varied, interesting, and a treat to read. Here’s a sample (each paragraph is a separate comment):
I do not spend a lot of time here, but when I have the time, I love it. Thank you!
What a great way to feel like a scientist.
I’ve been an on-and-off participant in the Zooniverse citizen science projects since I was 13 years old – and Galaxy Zoo has been one of my favourites for a while! I just wanted to say thank you for providing the opportunity for an ordinary teenager to feel included in fascinating scientific research – that experience has inspired me to pursue a degree in Physics and Astronomy in the fall.
We were also curious about who, as a group, we were asking these questions of. It turns out that quite a large fraction of people who responded to the survey have been with us since the early days, which is so lovely. And we were also delighted to see people engaging with us who’ve just recently discovered Galaxy Zoo. We are so glad all of you are collaborating with us; here’s to many years to come.
P.S. – The big 10 is coming next year… what would you like to see for the occasion?
Galaxy Zoo is three years old today. Three years ago, I opened my laptop in the back of a Royal Astronomical Society meeting, connected my laptop to the rather flakey wifi network and noticed the site had crashed under the sheer weight of demand.
Three years on, we’ve produced excellent science, have moved on to the distant Universe, built the Zooniverse and, thanks to the contributions of every single person who has ever classified a galaxy, established that involving the public in research is an excellent way to get things done. Here’s to the next three years.
P.S. You can hear Kevin and I discussing his work on active galaxies on today’s 365 days of astronomy podcast.
P.P.S. Thanks in particular to the forum for their birthday cards and best wishes.