Collaboration of Cyborgs Discovers 40,000 Ring Galaxies

Scientists will report this week at the National Astronomy Meeting that 40,000 ring galaxies were discovered through a collaborative effort between humans and machines.

The new research will be presented by Dr. Mike Walmsley of the University of Manchester and the Galaxy Zoo project.

He will explain how this "cyborg" method assessed the morphologies of millions of galaxies.

The lives of galaxies are tumultuous. 

The colours and orbits of billions of stars are disrupted by collisions with neighbouring galaxies and energy bursts from supermassive black holes.

 However, in order to pinpoint precisely which cosmic occurrences result in which marks, millions of measured photos are needed, far more than humans could possibly search.

To assist, Dr. Mike Walmsley developed a new AI system using a decade's worth of Galaxy Zoo volunteer observations, which included over 96 million clicks. 

The programme, dubbed "Zoobot," is able to not only predict what participants would say with accuracy but also recognises potential errors.

Six times more uncommon ring-shaped galaxies than were previously known have been found, totaling 40,000. 

 This enormous new sample will contribute to our understanding of how solitary galaxies grow since rings take billions of years to form and are destroyed in galaxy-galaxy collisions.

The collection will also show researchers how galaxies normally age.