Thursday, May 24, 2012

Playing in the (Mobile) Galactic Zoo!

Photo Courtesy: Zooniverse
Last year we first looked at the GalaxyZoo: Hubble project from the Zooniverse.  This well-designed project needs your help cataloging the wide variety of galaxies captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.  It's been a highly successful  project that has published a number of peer-reviewed papers based on the data collected.  Not only is it easy to learn and fun to participate in, but it makes an important contribution to the field of astronomy.

Building on this success, the Zooniverse group has created it's first mobile application based on GalaxyZoo.  Everything is pretty much the same...participants are asked to identify the same features on the same images as those in the online version.  But as a phone application you can do it anywhere and anytime.  So if you have a few minutes to kill at the Subway stop or want to show your friends at the pub the fun of citizen science, this application is for you.

Getting Started is Easy:
  • Visit the Zooniverse sites online to register as a user.  They don't require much information (only name and e-mail); just enough to give you credit for your work.
  • Download the GalaxyZoo App from either the Apple App Store or Android Play Store.  It's free from both so don't worry about the credit card.
  • Start the app and log on with your username and password.  After a short delay to stockpile (e.g., download) galaxy images, click "Done" to get started.
  • Your phone will show an image of each galaxy with a series of questions on bottom about how the galaxy appears.  Logos with examples of each galaxy type are also included to help you answer each question.  Just click on the appropriate answer and the next one will pop up.  For example,
    • Question 1: Is the galaxy simply smooth and rounded, with no sign of a disk? 
Photo Courtesy:
Zooniverse and

    • Question 2: Does the galaxy have a mostly clumpy appearance?
Photo Courtesy:
Zooniverse and

    • Question 3: Is there a sign of a bar feature through the centre of the galaxy? 
Photo Courtesy:
Zooniverse and
  • Answer each to the best of your ability, but don't stress over each image.  Many other people will also be reviewing them with the results combined to help reduce any potential errors.  You can also go back at any point with the "Undo" feature in case you want to change an answer.
  • If some of the galaxies are difficult to classify or you don't understand what the researchers are looking for, check out the online tutorial for descriptions, examples, and sample quizzes.
  • If you have further trouble with any aspect of the app, check out the GalaxyZoo iPhone instruction page for help.

That's all there is to it.  Hopefully you'll have as much fun with this mobile app as you have with the many other Zooniverse citizen science applications that are also available.  But if not, check out some of the many other programs we're collecting on the new "Citizen Science for your Phone" page.

Finally, let us know if you have any more mobile citizen science apps you'd like us to highlight.  We always appreciate the help!

FOR MORE MOBILE APPS VISIT THE NEW Citizen Science for your Phone PAGE !


  1. This app does not exist. I have searched under galaxy zoo, zooniverse and galaxyzoo with no results.

    1. Seems to be on F-Droid:

  2. We’ll demonstrate how each framework can be used to develop the same mobile app, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each.cell phone tracking app

  3. Another handy application can track Snapchat activity of the remote phone. Something on this topic can be found here