Astronomy

Great Educational Resources about Space and Astronomy



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You don't need a telescope or a great view to get your hands on real research opportunities about space and astronomy. If you have a computer and an Internet connection, you can contribute to real studies about space today! The universe is a big place, and there are too many galaxies for astronomers to study individually. GalaxyZoo.org is a website you can visit from home, school or work, and help classify the galaxies shown in images, contributing the collective knowledge our society has about the worlds around us. There is a quick tutorial and a short test to participate, and then you're on your way to seeing spectacular images never before seen by anyone on Earth! It's free for you, of course, you are doing work for GalaxyZoo. I'd highly recommend it to anyone with free time, it is simple and addicting!

GalaxyZoo got the idea from another project you may have heard about, [email protected] That project is still going on, although it is a bit more difficult (but just a bit!). [email protected] uses a display method to make a virtual microscope, allowing you to look through the layers of gel, searching for pathways of dust particles from outer space. This is useful because there are millions of tiny sections to search for, but once a pathway is identified, scientists can look at the content of the dust and learn about our surroundings in our own galaxy. The great part about [email protected] is that you have a score as you go along, and you can see how you rank against all the other users.

Like Helium.com, these two websites utilize the benefits of the Internet reaching a broad population to gain accurate and interesting information that the individuals would not be able to compile and work on their own. You may be asking why they need people, why can't a computer just analyze all the photos. Well, our current technology is still not able to clearly and accurately decipher images as well as the human eye. Isn't it amazing that we still have an edge of technology?

For more involved educational experiences, I would recommend a visit to Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois, or similar planetariums. And of course you can buy a telescope and look up into the skies yourself as well. On GalaxyZoo.org, you can also click on a link about a galaxy image that you are viewing, and it will give you all the coordinates you need to locate it in outer space. Depending on your telescope, you may or may not be able to find it, but if you look through enough galaxies you're bound to find something beautiful and crystal clear.

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