Home > Astronomy, Cosmology, Galaxies, General Astronomy > Hubble And Galaxy Zoo Find Bars And Baby Galaxies Don’t Mix

Hubble And Galaxy Zoo Find Bars And Baby Galaxies Don’t Mix


Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300. Credit: HST / NASA / ESA

Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300. Credit: HST / NASA / ESA

Harnessing the power of both the Hubble Space Telescope and the citizen science project Galaxy Zoo, scientists from the University of Portsmouth have found that bar-shaped features in spiral galaxies accelerate the galaxy aging process.

The astronomers found that the fraction of spiral galaxies with bar features has doubled in the last eight billion years – the latter half of the history of the universe. The scientists publish their results, the first from the Galaxy Zoo: Hubble project, in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

University of Portsmouth postgraduate researcher Tom Melvin led the new study as part of his thesis work. He and the rest of the Galaxy Zoo science team used classifications provided by citizen scientists to select spiral galaxies across the Universe for the study. Light from the furthest galaxies has taken eight billion years to reach us, so we see them as they appeared eight billion years ago or when the cosmos was a little over half its present age. This allows astronomers to study how the characteristics of galaxies change over this time.

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