Great news everyone! The Zooniverse has teamed up with the Imperial War Museum and the National Archives to bring you an awesome new project called Operation War Diary. It involves the transcription of over one million battlefield notes produced from the western front during the World War I. This year marks the centenary of the start of the war and this project will bring to light information that had been all but lost over the last one hundred years. Get involved here http://www.operationwardiary.org/
As astronomical surveys and observations have continued to grow towards the petabyte scale, online citizen science projects have proven quite successful in enlisting the general public to mine these rich datasets from searching for exoplanets to identifying gravitational lenses. With new instruments and observatories currently being planned and built such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the next decade will see astronomy officially enter the petabyte age. When complete in 2022, LSST, an 8.4-meter optical telescope, will generate 15 terabytes worth of images each night, creating the largest public dataset in the world. LSST will provide images of billions (yes billions!) of new galaxies. The SKA will be the largest radio telescope ever built when it is scheduled to come online in 2024, generating roughly 11 terabytes of raw data per second. In a single day, the SKA will produce more information than all of the present day Internet combined! Citizen science will need to evolve to be able to handle the coming data deluge.
The Zooniverse and the Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics at Academia Sinica (ASIAA) are organizing a workshop on Citizen Science in Astronomy. The goal of this workshop is to take the first steps towards addressing the critical questions and issues that citizen science will need to solve in order to cope with these never-before-seen data volumes in the age of LSST and SKA. We aim to bring together machine learning experts, computer scientists, astronomers, and scientists from astronomy-based citizen science projects to test current techniques used to assess the capabilities of individual classifiers and combine their results, create techniques for better directing volunteer efforts to improve efficiency of current and future citizen science projects, and develop new methods for analyzing citizen science data combined with machine learning algorithms.
Recenty the Andromeda Project was the feature of one of the posts on the ‘I fucking Love Science’ Facebook page. The page, which was started by Elise Andrew in March 2012, currently has 8 million likes, so some form of noticeable impact was to be expected! Here are some of the interesting numbers the post is responsible for:
I’ll start with the Facebook post itself. As of writing (16 hours after original posting), it has been shard 1,842 times, liked by 6,494 people and has 218 comments. These numbers are actually relatively low for an IFLS post, some of which can reach over 70,000 shares!
Let’s now have a look at what it did for the Andromeda Project. The project, which was launched two days previous and was already pretty popular, had settled down to around 100 active users per hour. This number shot up to almost 600 immediately following the post. In the space of 5 minutes the number of visitors on the site went from 13 to 1,300! After a few hours it settled down again, but now the steady rate looks to be about 25% higher than before. The number of classifications per hour follows the same pattern. The amazing figure here is that almost 100,000 classifications were made in the 4 hours following the post. This number corresponds to around 1/6th of the total needed to complete the project!
Finally, what did it do for the Zooniverse as a whole? Well there have been over 4,000 new Zooniverse accounts registered within the last four days and the Facebook page, which was linked in the AP article, got a healthy boost of around 1,000 new likes. So all things considered, it seems that an IFLS post can be very useful for promoting your project indeed!
Thanks Elise, the Andromeda Project, Planet Hunters and Zooniverse teams love you!
A new ‘mini’ project went live yesterday called Galaxy Zoo Quench. This project involves new images of 6,004 galaxies drawn from the original Galaxy Zoo. As usual, everyone is invited to come and classify these galaxies, but this project has a twist that makes it special! We hope to take citizen science to the next level by providing the opportunity to take part in the entire scientific process – everything from classifying galaxies to analyzing results to collaborating with astronomers to writing a scientific article!
Galaxy Zoo Quench is examining a sample of galaxies that have recently and abruptly quenched their star formation. These galaxies are aptly named Post-Quenched Galaxies. They provide an ideal laboratory for studying galaxy evolution. So that’s exactly what we want to do: with the help of the Zooniverse community. We hope you’ll join us as we try out a new kind of citizen science project. Visit http://quench.galaxyzoo.org to learn more.
The entire process of classifying, analyzing, discussing, and writing the article will take place over an ~8-12 week period. After classifying the galaxies, Quench volunteers can use tools.zooniverse.org to plot the data and look for trends. We also have a special Quench Talk forum to discuss and identify key results to include in the paper – above you can see examples of some of the cool objects people have already found and discussed.
Have questions about the project? Leave a comment here or ask us on Twitter (@galaxyzoo) or on the Galaxy Zoo Facebook page. In case you’re worried: the regular Galaxy Zoo will continue as normal.