Galaxy Zoo – Smashing Galaxies Together

Galaxy Zoo was started in July of 2007. NSS Phoenix first posted about Galaxy Zoo in June of 2008.

Hundreds of thousands of human eyeballs have yielded research results. One of the most recent peer-reviewed publications Galaxy Zoo Green Peas: Discovery of A Class of Compact Extremely Star-Forming Galaxies was published 7 September 2009 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc.), and the Abstract was published on the Galaxy Zoo Forum. The Abstract begins: “We investigate a class of rapidly growing emission line galaxies, known as “Green Peas,” first noted by volunteers in the Galaxy Zoo project because of their peculiar bright green colour and small size, unresolved in SDSS imaging.”

The newest project is the dynamics of Galaxy Mergers. Once you register and login, you are presented with the Current Target of merging galaxies.Your task is to watch sample mergers played out dynamically and select one if it appears similar to the target. As the website makes clear:

This one takes a lot of patience. However, if you look at enough states, eventually you will get solutions that are close.

So click on “Take Me There” and get started.

Merger Target

Credit: Galaxy Zoo (Creative Commons License).

Select Similar Mergers

Credit: Galaxy Zoo (Creative Commons License).

In the center of the screen is your target merger. When you click on “More”, eight new simulations will be run, one at a time in each box. The “Animate” check box in the upper right shows the actual collision, rather than just the end result. If none of the collisions look like the target, then skip them and click on “More” again.

If you find a collision that resembles the target, click on the simulation and it will be added to the “Selected Sims” panel on the right. Remember, not selecting a simulation is just as important as selecting one. It lets the Galaxy Zoo researchers know that a particular set of conditions will not produce the target merger.

Once you have found a candidate, you can refine the simulation. Click on the “Enhance” tab.

To the left is an image of the Enhance screen for mergers. First, select the simulation from the right hand panel (double click). Then, you can “Add More Stars” and watch the simulation at greater detailNow the fun begins. You can adjust the orientation of the simulation by click and hold on the image and drag. Although the target merger can only be seen from the orientation shown, the sim can be rotated in three dimensions.

There are a lot of variables to play with: Mass, Velocity, Depth, Size, Angles 1 and Angles 2. You can flip the galaxies. For a detailed description of these variables, see the instructions. Once you have the collision as close as possible, click on “Save Sim”.

Adjustments are tricky and even slight variations in a variable can produce wildly divergent results.

Enhance and Adjust

Credit: Galaxy Zoo (Creative Commons License).

Happy Mergers.

One thought on “Galaxy Zoo – Smashing Galaxies Together

  1. Pingback: Galaxy Zoo – Smashing Galaxies Together « The National Space … N Zoo

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