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Amateurs discover green pea galaxies

28 Jul 2009, 10:54 UTC
Amateurs discover green pea galaxies
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An army of space fans have surprised professional astronomers by discovering a scattering of previously unrecognised galaxies that look like green peas.Experts are hailing the find as of great importance because it will help them to learn how stars were born in the early universe.Two rows of peas from the 250 discovered by Galaxy Zoo fansHundreds of thousands of volunteers - ordinary members of the public - signed up for the UK-led project called Galaxy Zoo, which began operating in July, 2007.They have been using their spare time on their home computers to click through pictures of more than a million galaxies taken by a robotic camera for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in New Mexico to help classify them.While checking through the online image bank, the space fans came across 250 galaxies that stood out because they were small but bright green. They quickly dubbed them the Green Peas and the discoverers jokingly call themselves the Peas Corps.Professional astronomers checked them out and found that the "peas" the volunteers had harvested were rare, small and compact galaxies where stars were being born at an extremely high rate.Now their amazing discovery is being reported in a major scientific paper to ...

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