Category Archives: News

Introducing Robert Simpson

Have you noticed that the Zooniverse has been expanding recently? Well it has. Two new postdoctoral researchers joined the team at Oxford in March. I am one of them, so I thought I’d introduce myself. My name is Robert Simpson and I most recently hail from Cardiff, where I’ve been studying for my PhD in star formation.

These past two weeks have been very busy and included a Zooniverse Boot Camp as well as an education in the complex underpinnings of the Zooniverse coffee machine (that required some note-taking itself!). My new position – postdoctoral researcher in citizen science – involves both research using the data that comes from the various Zoos, and the development of existing and new projects. Galaxy Zoo, Solar Stormwatch, Mergers, Supernovae and Moon Zoo present a broad range of astronomical and technical challenges. I’m keen to get going.

I’m also a social-media-kind-of-guy. I have been known to tweet with the best of them (you can find me @orbitingfrog). As such, I’m hoping to to get to know the Zooniverse blog community a lot better, as well as delving into some other social media arenas.

Rho Ophiuchus Star Forming Region

My background is in far-infrared and submillimetre observations of star-forming regions within our our galaxy. The image on this page is of the Rho Ophiuchus star-forming region, a nearby cloud complex and the subject my PhD thesis. My thesis was on the evolution of prestellar cores, objects that may be about to collapse and form protostars. The beautiful images that showcase the regions I study are part of why many people love astronomy. Like the wonderful galaxy images used in Galaxy Zoo, they are inspiring and literally awesome. If you’d like to explore our own beautiful galaxy, I suggest checking out Chromoscope, a multi-wavelength Milky Way explorer.

You’ll hear from me again soon enough, but in the meantime keep clicking, classifying, storm-watching and merging. Your work is taken very seriously here at Oxford. It allows Zooniverse researchers to learn more about our amazing cosmos and to share it with everybody. There is so much to learn that myself, and fellow newbie Stuart Lynn, aren’t quite sure where to start. Maybe a coffee will help… where are my notes?

Citizen Basketball

I’ve been working closely with Zookeeper Geza recently, to figure out how to provide better support for those of you who are doing your own research in addition to classifying galaxies. (Stay tuned for more on that.) In addition to being the awesome, Geza has a wonderful analogy for what we are all working together to do. I’d like to share that analogy with you in story form. A few years ago, I joined a twice-weekly lunchtime basketball game with some of the science faculty at the Hopkins Gym.

Continue reading Citizen Basketball

User accounts migration

This morning we made some major changes to the way you manage your account with Galaxy Zoo and the Zooniverse. Previously all account management (e.g. changing your email address) was done through the Galaxy Zoo site however the changes that we made this morning have moved those pages to the Zooniverse Home.

From the Zooniverse you can now manage your profile for both the projects (such as Galaxy Zoo) and also any of the Zooniverse forums. I’ve recorded a quick screencast demonstrating the changes here.

As part of the update today we also upgraded the Galaxy Zoo forum to the latest (and greatest) version of SMF. The changes we made today were made possible by the hard work of the whole Zooniverse developer team, in particular Jarod Luebbert and Pamela Gay – thanks for your help guys!

We hope you like the changes!

Cheers
Arfon

Latest Galaxy Spin paper accepted

From Raul Jimenez, the lead author of this paper.
Dear galaxy zooers,

Our paper on the correlation of spins and past star formation was  accepted today to the MNRAS. This was after a very positive and  insightful referee report, which helped us make the paper stronger.  next steps are to look for the effect in numerical simulations and  increase the size of the observational sample. Because the above  correlation is a very particular prediction of hierarchical galaxy  formation, it raises the bar for alternative theories of galaxy formation to produce such effect.

Aloha from the Keck Telescope in Hawaii

Palomar Transit Factory Greetings. My name is Mansi Kasliwal and I am pursuing my PhD thesis at Caltech. The goal of my thesis is finding novel cosmic explosions too bright to be novae and too faint to be supernovae! The has churned out several candidates (even last night) and is counting on you all to discover some fun transients among them. Tonight, I am at the 10-m Keck telescope in Hawaii. I am using the “LRIS” spectrograph. This gigantic piece of glass is superb at thumb-printing transients. In less than 5 min, I can take a spectrum of a PTF transient and tell you what type of star blew up and what elements it was made of. The weather is predicted to be quite nice and it should be a lovely, long winter night as I’m snuggling in with my hot garcinia cambogia tea. Thank you all for joining the fun of discovering new cosmic explosions! Clear Skies and Mahalo.