TMI: Help astronomers analyze overload of data

During a pre-interview in anticipation of today’s show on astronomy, telescopes and big data, our guest Alberto Conti told me that astronomers are currently taking in far more data then they can analyze. In fact, the amount of data we have on our universe is expected to double every year for the foreseeable future.

In order to try and make sense of the massive number of images coming in from Hubble and other telescopes, astronomers are recruiting average citizens to help examine pictures and search for galaxies, stars, planets and other cosmic formations. According to Alberto, this initiative has been wildly successful. People are finding new stars every day and a few years ago, a Dutch school teacher discovered a new galaxy.

So, if you’re interested in the universe and in helping the cause of science, you can sign up easily at places like Galaxy Zoo and Hubble’s Hidden Treasures and do your part.

Happy hunting!

–Madelyn Mahon, assistant producer