A group of astronomers is inviting the public to join their star-hunting team in a search of the bright Andromeda Galaxy.
The project aims to identify star clusters in our neighboring galaxy, also known as M31. All it takes to find the clusters in Andromeda is an Internet-enabled computer and a desire to help, said Anil Seth, the team’s lead investigator. “No special training is required,” he said.
The so-called “Andromeda Project,” which began Wednesday (Dec. 5), will generate the largest sample of clusters from a single spiral galaxy when it is completed.
Scientists expect the project could identify 2,500 new star clusters when finished. This would provide useful goalposts to chart how the galaxy, which is on a collision course with the Milky Way, formed and evolved.
“The general benefit is to better understand how spiral galaxies form,” said Seth, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Utah.
“Andromeda is the nearest example of a [spiral] galaxy, except for the Milky Way,” he said. “We can study in detail things we can’t see in larger distances.”