NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope recently shared an observation of a gem from the Galaxy Zoo project. It captured an unusual multi-armed galaxy merger called CGCG 396-2.
Also known as LEDA 17532 or 2MASX J05373599+0120038, the galaxy is located around 520 million light-years from Earth in Orion’s constellation.
Astronomers noted, “This observation is a gem from the Galaxy Zoo project, a citizen science project in which hundreds of thousands of volunteers classified galaxies to help scientists solve a problem of astronomical proportions — how to sort through the vast amounts of data generated by robotic telescopes. Following a public vote, a selection of the most astronomically intriguing objects from the Galaxy Zoo was selected for follow-up observations with Hubble. CGCG 396-2 is one such object captured in this image by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.”
“The Galaxy Zoo project originated when an astronomer was set an impossibly mind-numbing task; classifying more than 900 000 galaxies by eye. By making a web interface and inviting citizen scientists to contribute to the challenge, the Galaxy Zoo team was able to crowdsource the analysis. Within six months, a legion of 100 000 volunteer citizen astronomers had contributed more than 40 million galaxy classifications.”