After posting on Galaxy Zoo last week and then catching up with one of the project leaders today I learned that the next generation of this phenomenal citizen science project was just launched last night.
In the original Galaxy Zoo nearly 150,000 citizen scientists helped astronomers at Oxford and Yale classify roughly 1 million galaxies imaged by the robotic telescope of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. With so many galaxies, the researchers anticipated that it might take at least two years to complete the project. But within 24 hours of launch, the site was receiving 70,000 classifications an hour, and more than 50 million classifications were submitted during the first year.
In Galaxy Zoo 2 contributors have been equipped with more powerful classification tools and assigned more complex tasks than before, giving the researchers an even richer data set to work with. Project leads are hoping Zoo 2 will produce as much science – and as many surprises – as the original Galaxy Zoo did. My hunch is that it will likely generate much more.