Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lopsided Universe

The Telegraph (UK) reported Monday that amateur astronomers are helping map the universe.

Professional astronomers had asked the public for assistance in mapping the night sky, and were stunned when they received millions of hits on their website within a few days, enabling them to classify galaxies in the universe at rocket speed.

The response has been so great that within a couple of months the Galaxy Zoo project has completed a preliminary analysis of the heavens which would normally take years.

The survey has revealed that the collections of millions of stars, dust, gas and planets in galaxies prefer to rotate anticlockwise from the viewpoint of an observer on Earth.

Traditionally astronomers have believed that galaxies would spin either clockwise or anti-clockwise in equal proportion. But these observations would seem to suggest that either a mysterious force is acting on them or that the universe is in some way lopsided.

This is great. I love it when new information blows science as we know it out of the water. It's like Copernicus. It's like Gallileo. It's like the apple on Newton's head.

If you want to help, you can sign up here.

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