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Hunt Galaxies from Your Couch

The Galaxy Zoo project has helped astronomers uncover unknown galaxies.
/ Source: NBCConnecticut.com

Mysterious planets and undiscovered life forms — it’s just your typical day at work for Yale University astronomers.

Work probably isn’t as stimulating for the rest of us, but we can take part too, without a fancy schmancy astronomy degree.

A team of astronomers launched the Galaxy Zoo project in 2007 to seek help from average Joes interested in dedicating their free time to discovering new and unknown galaxies.

These volunteers, known as “citizen scientists”, sift through an online image bank and answer questions regarding size, shape and color of objects in our solar system.

Astronomers recently received some abnormal reports about tiny bright green images, which led them to discover the “Green Peas,” a group of extremely active star-forming galaxies that create stars 10 times faster than the Milky Way.

“No one person could have done this on their own,” said Carolin Cardamone, an astronomy graduate student at Yale. “Even if we had managed to look through 10,000 of these images, we would have only come across a few Green Peas and wouldn’t have recognized them as a unique class of galaxies.”

To date, more than 230,000 volunteers from all over the world have helped classify millions of images of galaxies taken by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

If you’re craving a starry night under the sky but can’t stand the rain, get comfy at your computer and help discover mystifying objects like the “Peas.”

Who knows what else might be out there!