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Getting Involved with Citizen Science

Hubble Site
The Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635).

Many are familiar with the concept of citizen science: opportunities for amateurs to play a role in helping researchers gather or process scientific data. That could involve a backyard bird count, or the use of a home computer to sift through terrabytes of data.

Our astronomy contributor Jean Creighton says there are various levels of citizen science that connect with her field. At a time when many federal scientists are worried about the future of their data, Creighton says there are many different ways to access information and images - such as from the Hubble Space Telescope. 

"I would argue that the Hubble Site archive is probably most useful to the general public, because it's organized both in what's new... but there's also a gallery that you can browse. That's where all the pictures are, and you don't need to know what you're asking for," says Creighton. 

There are several other ways to get involved with citizen science. Creighton mentions Galaxy Zoo, specifically, but there are many other organizations including Planet Hunters, the Andromedia Project, and Star Date: M83

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
Dr. Jean Creighton has always been inspired by how the cosmos works. She was born in Toronto, Ontario and grew up in Athens, Greece where her mother claims she showed a great interest in how stars form from the age of five. She studied physics at the University of Athens and went on to earn a Master’s degree from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Waterloo. She began teaching astronomy at UW-Milwaukee in 1999 and in 2007, she took over as director of UWM's Manfred Olson Planetarium.