Readers! Help Astronomers Study The Galaxy That's Going To Collide With Ours

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 16:30 in Astronomy & Space

Andromeda Galaxy NASAWe're doomed to collide with the Andromeda Galaxy one day, but we can get to know it first through a crowdsourced online game. Citizen science at work. Sometimes, scientists need a hand. There's a lot of data to sift through, and now more than ever, the public can be part of that sifting. Take this fun new project: a crowdsourced hunt for star clusters in the Andromeda Galaxy. An online program from the University of Washington, the University of Utah, and other partners lets any amateur astronomers take a look at images from the Hubble Space Telescope and search for star clusters in the galaxy. There's a lot of those clusters--as many as 2,500 in the images--but researchers have only found about 600, even after searching for months. (One big roadblock: Pattern-recognition software tends to skip over star clusters.) That's where everyone else comes in. Volunteers can...

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