New Animals on Display at Spitzer’s Citizen Science Zoo
Since 2010, about 50,000 volunteers have taken to their computers to help astronomers catalog star-blown bubbles captured in images from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Their efforts resulted in several scientific papers, and a deeper understanding of our Milky Way galaxy and its frothy star-forming clouds.
Now, an updated version of the campaign, called the Milky Way Project, is releasing more images with a whole new set of “animals” to track in the cosmic zoo. Volunteers are asked to catalog a host of objects, including towering pillars of dust, bow shocks rammed into cosmic dust by speeding stars and even other galaxies hiding behind dust.
“Spitzer has made a hugely detailed survey of our galaxy so expansive you can’t take it all in at once,” said Robert Hurt, an imaging specialist at NASA’s Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. “This project guarantees that every pixel will be seen by many people. No corner will go unexplored.”