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Galaxy Zoo Team Discovers New Class of Galaxy Cluster

Unusual galaxy cluster discovered by Galaxy Zoo volunteers. Credit: Galaxy Zoo

Unusual galaxy cluster discovered by Galaxy Zoo volunteers. Credit: Galaxy Zoo


A new class of galaxy clusters has been identified by volunteers and astronomers of the Galaxy Zoo project, together with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. These clusters are rare, and have apparently gone unnoticed before, despite their unusual linear properties. Astronomers believe the identification of these types of clusters depend on the visual inspection of large numbers of galaxies, a feat which has only recently been made possible by the Galaxy Zoo project, and this may explain why they haven’t been discovered until now. “Space is, after all, really big,” said the Galaxy Zoo scientists, “and full of really surprising things.”

These clusters are unusually elongated, possess young and highly dynamic galaxy populations, and most unexpectedly, present neatly typeset, left-justified, messages written in the English language. One sample even includes punctuation similar to an exclamation mark. (See image below.)

SDSS colour composite image (vri) for another unusual galaxy cluster, at RA = ?2h61m12s, Dec = +124?17?72?? , identified by Galaxy Zoo participants.

SDSS colour composite image (vri) for another unusual galaxy cluster, at RA = ?2h61m12s, Dec = +124?17?72?? , identified by Galaxy Zoo participants.


The occurrence of these new galaxy phenomena could potentially lend support to some of the more exotic models for Dark Energy or modified gravity, which one of the Universe Today trolls may find extremely notable. More controversially, as most occurrences of English sentences are considered to be the work of intelligent beings, the existence of these messages might indicate intelligent life beyond our own.

Conversely, however, they could indicate that many phenomena usually attributed to intelligent life on Earth may actually occur spontaneously, without any thought necessarily being involved at all. While these new discoveries may have profound implications for cosmology, the most important thing to consider is the date of this publication, being April 1.

The Galaxy Zoo team stresses that, despite their implausible appearance, the galaxies comprising each individual character in the figures presented here are taken directly from the SDSS multicolour composite imaging. Note, however, that some degree of translation and rotation has been performed to the individual characters, for presentation purposes.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Arik Rice April 1, 2009, 11:05 AM

    Hey, what do you think the odds are that there are some galaxies lined up like this somewhere?

  • Matt S. April 1, 2009, 2:02 PM

    “Hey, what do you think the odds are that there are some galaxies lined up like this somewhere?”

    Astronomically high…. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  • Gabriel April 1, 2009, 3:29 PM

    A fake image in my opinion.This is too big of a coincidence to be true.

  • Yael Dragwyla April 2, 2009, 12:01 AM

    April Fool!

  • Danny April 1, 2009, 7:31 PM

    The second-last sentence kind of gives it away

  • anu April 1, 2009, 7:41 PM

    April fools day surprise?

  • Miguel V. April 2, 2009, 2:49 AM

    I was fooled by that paper until I saw the coordinates of the objects! Then I looked the calendar :D

  • anzenbrainard April 1, 2009, 11:50 PM

    As wee all know, theses are part of an april fools joke, (but i was still so excited when i read this until i took a look at a calendar)

    anyway, has anyone noticed that they have some message in them?

    Like the second picture says:
    “Caution! ????????? formation in progress?

  • geokstr April 2, 2009, 7:30 AM

    It was immediately evident this was a joke, just from the first picture. Note that the same galaxy appears twice, the circular one with the dot in it at right, about in the middle of the image. It would have been more difficult to spot if the hoaxters had not put them right on top of each other.

    :-)

    Given the political bent of this site, I’m very surprised the “message” didn’t say:

    “CAUTION EARTHLINGS! KEANU WAS RIGHT ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE”

  • Chuck Lam April 2, 2009, 3:24 PM

    Someone has waaaay too much time on their hands.

  • strider April 2, 2009, 1:07 PM

    we apologise for
    the inconvenience

  • B00mstra April 2, 2009, 3:30 PM

    Caution! Structure formation in progress

  • Erik April 3, 2009, 10:33 AM

    There are many repeated galaxies in the image.
    First I thought that this is news about special galaxy forms until I noticed the message :D
    This was very good :)

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