Volunteers Help Identify Nearly a Quarter-Million Galaxies
December 2, 2022
Astronomers on a historically ambitious and massive galaxy-mapping mission have activated more than 10,000 amateur scientists in 85 countries to help in their quest. Now they hope to significantly scale up their volunteer force for a unique project that could reveal for the first time the nature of dark energy.
The research project known as HETDEX, or the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment, is based at The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory and relies on volunteers who participate online in a project called Dark Energy Explorers. With a smartphone or computer, participants can experience what it’s like to be an astronomer, teasing apart the mysteries of the universe while helping professional astronomers find distant galaxies and learn more about the mysterious force known as dark energy, which is causing the universe to rapidly expand.