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back to article Scientists need you to organize galaxies

A group of scientists are looking for internet volunteers to take part in what they claim will be the largest galactic census ever compiled. The act of classifying a galaxy isn't difficult. The trouble is there's a lot of them. Scientifically speaking, the universe is ginormous, and computer programs can't hold a standard …

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Anonymous Coward

I thought scientists were supposed to be smart……

“whether they are spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise”

Ummmm, surely this is a dumb question as it has two correct answers?

If you look at a spinning disc from the ‘top’ and it appears to be spinning ‘clockwise’ then from the bottom (underneath) it would appear to be spinning counter-clockwise!

The next question would therefore have to be “are we viewing the galaxy from the top or the bottom” – followed by “does a galaxy actually have a top and bottom”!

And there was I thinking scientists were supposed to be smart……

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They Are Smart

Anyone who can get thousands of people to volunteer do their work for them is smart. I've tried and no one at all is interested in helping me; or they want money.

Anyway, for those of you who are wondering.....

If a galaxy is spinning, and has noticeable arm-like structures, then these

structures will tend to lag behind the spinning mass hence giving a definite curvature to their shape which is repeated across all such structures in the galaxy. The amount of curvature will be greater at the outer edges of the galaxy. (I tried to draw a picture using keyboard characters but gave up).

As for clockwise or anti-clockwise, that refers to the apparent direction as seen from our location (that's the Sol system, earth in most cases except for MFM of course). This is indeed an arbitrary classification but the distribution and relative numbers of clockwise/anticlockwise galaxies can tell the astronomers a great deal about the properties of the universe and help confirm/deny their theories.

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Smart Scientists - dumb statement

Austin - of course scientists are smart. Your statement whilst accurate is nevertheless dumb.

The scientists are obviously talking about spiral galaxies "as seen from Earth". The reason being humans are naturally "human-o-centric" as we base our "universe" on our position within it! So the question of "top or bottom" does not arise (DOH!) in terms of this project of identifying clockwise or anticlockwise spin and in fact was only raised by you in your confusion that we could possibly see galaxies from either direction?? But we can't as we are confined to Earth or near-Earth (via space telescopes).

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Anonymous Coward

APPLAUSE!

Best Byline Ever! Well done that man!

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surely...

If the universe is infinite you can simply say there's exactly the same number of spiral and elliptical galaxies, and that there's the same number of galaxies spinning clockwise as anticlockwise... an infinite amount. Then you can go for a cup of tea and take the rest of your career off, jobsagoodun.

Although bizarrely enough, if the universe really is infinite, wherever you are in it you're at the centre of the universe, since there's an infinite amount more of it in every direction, therefore you must be in the middle. If you're in the middle then everything must revolve around you (ego trip); see the Christians were right, the sun does revolve around the Earth, take that you Renaissance thinkers.

I love infinity - it's so ridiculous.

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Title

[quote]I love infinity - it's so ridiculous.[/quote]

It's more the amount of ridiculous is infinite.

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Bronze badge

An infinite amount?

Surely they're still teaching in schools that one infinite amount is not necessarily equal to another infinite amount?

There are an infinite amount of whole numbers and an infinite amount of whole even numbers, yet there are twice as many of the former than the latter.

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Anonymous Coward

Infinites

Schools, fortunately, still teach that both sets (natural numbers and its subset of even numbers) have the same cardinality: Aleph-0

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Infinite Universe?

Who said that the universe is infinitely big?

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Anonymous Coward

Naked Galexys

Well it makes a change for true nerd like me from looking at naked ladies!

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