Wednesday 18 March 2009

Galacticats and Citizen Science

The Galacticats Researchers wish to thank the many citizen scientists who have contributed their galacticats for our second paper, which goes out to the Journal of Astronomical Zoology's editor today.

Authors: Alice, NGC3314, Georgia, Caro, Sophie 378, Milk_n_cookies, Archi, Infinity, Paddy, Pat, Scaryitalian, Thornius, and their furry families thereon.

Abstract: Yes, very.*

Introduction: The serious illness, Galaxyzooitis, allows us to see not only everyday objects in galaxies, but galaxies in everyday objects. Rather like synaesthesia, we present here a case that this is not an illness or disability but rather an enhanced intelligence - and also that galaxies are so spectacular that they really should get into everything.

Method: I wrote a bunch of silly captions, called in the volunteers and made a lot of people laugh.


We first present the commonest finding: a selection of spirals with 4 or more arms.

From Archi: "Barred spiral, more than 4 arms."
From Caro, first an example of a tight spiral and a loose one:
followed by the effect of gravity:

"These two appear to be in close proximity but not interacting. The larger object could be showing some signs of disturbance however."

A statistical analysis of the results generally indicates more arms than average galaxies. An exception was discovered by Milk_n_cookies, namely Mia the elliptical:

The second major sample we present are peas, which are surprisingly common in galacticats:


Another two peas in a red galaxy with dust lanes, from Scaryitalian:

The above is particularly interesting considering that it is also an irregular galaxy, irregulars normally being blue. We have yet to find a blue galacticat, suggesting that their starforming rates are relatively low.

So far, 100% of peas are incorporated into galacticats, rather than being the entire galacticat, suggesting that galacticats are seldom if ever quasars. Unlike zoo peas, galacticats tend to have small localised OIII regions, suggesting some variation in their composition, not to mention very high energy. They are also incorporated only into tortoiseshell (i.e. red) objects, contrary to the usual pattern of the OIII galaxy being an energetic and presumably starforming place. This is likely to back up the point about localised differences within the galacticat.

A far redshifted Low Surface Brightness galacticat was discovered by Pat, SDSS J1NGLE5:

Unfortunately, SDSS J1NGLE5 is too distant and blurred to make out its features in detail and requires further stroking, I mean study.

Our third sample is of a new species of galacticat, namely the general galactipet. We propose that galacticats are merely one cat-egory of this larger species of stellar object, and we ask for more volunteers to help us expand our studying. Galactipets as a whole contain more variety than galacticats so far studied, though we only have a sample of 4 (or 3 if you insist on being boring about it, as two are of Pickle the hamster), this is not a statistically reliable result.

In the constellation of Canis Minor lies a multi-armed merger of galactipuppies provided by Paddy:

Sophie 378 discovered a red two-armed spiral with a dust band, a Hamster Alpha Object:

It was initially believed that Hamster Alpha Objects were capable of incorporating localised "pea-like" areas in the same manner as red galacticats, but a comparison of redshift demonstrates that this is an overlap:

Finally, Thornius found a very low-surface-brightness object, extraordinarily difficult to spot in the night sky and thus not seen on this blog before. He has christened it "Thorny's Voorwerp".

Most of the results can be studied in more detail between pages 99 and 101 of the pets thread, started by Infinity, but a few were obtained by msn.

Discussion: Miaow!

Conclusions: We, or at least I, believe we can collect a lot more galacticats in future.

*Thanks to Dr NK White, professor of Waveney Studies** and randomness expert, for this phrase.
**Long story. I'll see what I can do about blogging that after I'm next in contact with Professor White.


Pat said...

Ohhhhhhhh that Hamster Alpha Object is just Toooooooo cute!!!!!!!! :D

Georgia said...

Alice, you've outdone yourself! (What's next?) :-)

Alice said...

Next? It depends entirely on what the citizen scientists come up with! ;D

Paddy said...

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Hanny said...

Does your comment thing works the same as Half's? He seems to have it fixed (he says). Anyway, I like the space cats.

Ooh - I can choose an identity now...

Alice said...

Oh my, all the science stuff I write, but everyone likes the Galacticats best! What a pity, we'll have to do more. Hi Hanny, yes I think it does, though I have taken off as many things that make it difficult as I can. I can fix it by going into Safari, which doesn't get stuck when I try to log in! :D