Hanny's Voorwerp: the Power of Crowdsourced Astronomy

Hanny's Voorwerp is the blue patch below the spiral galaxy. That blue squiggle prompted a worldwide scientific research effort. (Source: Sloan Digital Sky Survey)

Hanny's Voorwerp is the blue patch below the spiral galaxy. That blue squiggle prompted a worldwide scientific research effort. (Source: Sloan Digital Sky Survey)

Hanny van Arkel, one of the amateur heroes of crowdsourced science, (re)wrote her story of discovery for the Huffington Post’s German site. In the early days of the Galaxy Zoo project, the Dutch teacher spent evenings classifying galaxies by their shape along with thousands of other people around the world. She noticed a strange blue patch in one of the images and posted a question to the Galaxy Zoo forum: “What’s the blue stuff below?” That one queston launched an amateur and professional research effort to understand “Hanny’s Voorwerp” that ultimately involved most of the world’s major observatories. Read her updated story on Hanny’s website. And check out her online comic for even more details.