Zooniverse project: Radio whispers from our neighboring galaxy

Help us build a catalogue of extended radio sources in the field of the Small Magellanic Cloud

Follow this link to contribute https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/gideondb/radio-whispers-from-our-neighbouring-galaxy

ABOUT RADIO WHISPERS FROM OUR NEIGHBOURING GALAXY

A nearby irregular dwarf galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), has been the subject of loads of research in various areas of Astronomy, ranging from X-ray to optical, and radio. These studies have uncovered various sources within the SMC galaxy, including populations of radio pulsars, supernova remnants, planetary nebulae, and X-ray binaries. However, despite these discoveries, the majority of sources detected in the SMC’s direction are background galaxies. A recent radio survey has revealed over 8000 sources located within and behind the SMC (Joseph et al. 2019).

The extended sources in the direction of the SMC are the ones of highest interest during this citizen science project. Volunteers will be asked to identify sources that look like bubbles, clouds or galaxies while being shown optical images from the superCOSMOS Sky Surveys with visual aid elements shown on these images. The results gathered from classifications made by volunteers will help with the compilation of a catalogue of extended radio sources in the SMC.

Extended Radio sources in the direction of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC)

The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is our nearest neighbouring galaxy and a satellite of our own Milky Way galaxy. Volunteers will be asked to identify sources that look like bubbles, clouds or galaxies while being shown optical images from the superCOSMOS Sky Surveys with visual aid elements shown on these images. Figuring out what these radio sources are, and whether they are part of the SMC galaxy itself is important for our understanding of how galaxies evolve and how the stars in them form.

Among the sources shown to volunteers, there will be sources which are already catalogued and studied. These sources will be seen as “rediscoveries” as was done in the famous Galaxy Zoo project on Zooniverse. The uncatalogued and not yet studied sources will be the proverbial gold at the end of the rainbow for this research.

Why we need you

Our automated source-finding algorithms are good at finding radio point sources, and some categories of extended sources, but they lack the nuance to understand when extended radio sources may be part of the same “source complex”, or be related in some way. For example, a source like the one below has 2 bright spots linked to some extended emission, however, the source-finding algorithms would not indicate that these sources and emissions could possibly be associated with each other:

Follow this link to contribute https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/gideondb/radio-whispers-from-our-neighbouring-galaxy