A zoo of galaxies

Karen L. Masters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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We live in a universe filled with galaxies with an amazing variety of sizes and shapes. One of the biggest challenges for astronomers working in this field is to understand how all these types relate to each other in the background of an expanding universe. Modern astronomical surveys (like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey) have revolutionised this field of astronomy, by providing vast numbers of galaxies to study. The sheer size of the these databases made traditional visual classification of the types galaxies impossible and in 2007 inspired the Galaxy Zoo project (www.galaxyzoo.org); starting the largest ever scientific collaboration by asking members of the public to help classify galaxies by type and shape. Galaxy Zoo has since shown itself, in a series of now more than 30 scientific papers, to be a fantastic database for the study of galaxy evolution. In this Invited Discourse I spoke a little about the historical background of our understanding of what galaxies are, of galaxy classification, about our modern view of galaxies in the era of large surveys. I finish with showcasing some of the contributions galaxy classifications from the Galaxy Zoo project are making to our understanding of galaxy evolution. This publication has been made possible by the participation of more than 200,000 volunteers in the Galaxy Zoo project. Their contributions are individually acknowledged at http://www.galaxyzoo.org/volunteers. KLM acknowledges funding from the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation as the 2008 Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation IAU Fellow, and from a 2010 Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, as well as support from the Royal Astronomical Society to attend the 28th GA of the IAU.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
EditorsThierry Montmerle
PublisherCambridge University Press
EditionHighlights H16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012
EventXXVIIIth IAU General Assembly - Beijing, China
Duration: 20 Aug 201231 Aug 2012

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221


ConferenceXXVIIIth IAU General Assembly


  • astro-ph.CO


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