As the terms classes approach finale, the ratchet turns on the workload. In one class I was required to give a presentation to the other 25 members and the lecturer; then field questions and debate afterwards. Mysteriously I ended up with the highest score in the class and enjoyed doing it. Apparently when presenting I have a latent ability to act as if I am a decent public speaker. My confidence is high about the exams in the next few weeks, but I won’t be claiming to enjoy them any time soon.
To distract me from this, as part of my Astronomy class I have been given the chance to do some galaxy classifying, and as an amateur astronomer, this isn’t far from being my perfect job! Simply put, galaxies are be categorised by shape (elliptical, spiral, irregular), bars, arms, bulges; then individual variances such as signs of tidal debris, merging, gravitational lensing and young star formation. Satellites take photographs some of the millions of visible unknown galaxies, but professional astronomers do
not have time to sit and classify these when their time is better spent on other research. It is also not difficult once you know how to do it, so would be a waste of their talents. Because of this, the banks of photographs are available to be classified by the amateurs, this is called citizen science. As a result I’ll be spending until the end of term at least on voluntary classification projects such as Illustris and DECaLS. So I am quite proud to contribute to scientific research and discoveries, while aiding professional researchers with contributions to publications; and if I am very fortunate I could get my name in a research paper. What a pleasure it is to actively engaging in my greatest passion. The pictures are a few examples.