Volunteers are invited to look for black holes of intermediate masses in spiral galaxies

Started astronomical project Spiral Graph in which anyone can help astronomers to determine the degree of twist of the sleeves of spiral galaxies by simply drawing on pictures. The results will allow to locate in the centers of the elusive black holes of intermediate masses, reported on the website of the project.

One of the most common types of galaxies in the Universe are spiral galaxies such as the milky Way. Form spiral galaxies can tell a lot about them. The degree of twist of the spiral arms, which can be described as a logarithmic spiral, is determined by the pitch angle, is one of the key parameters to describe galaxies. Knowing him, it is possible to estimate the mass of the Central black hole, and such, the mass of which ranges from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of solar masses. This so-called black holes of intermediate masses, they are extremely elusive objects have so far been found at least six candidates in them. Also the pitch angle allows to estimate the stellar mass of the bulge, the total stellar mass of a galaxy, the maximum rotation speed and the approximate content of dark matter.

Typically, the determination of the spiral pattern of galaxies entrusted to computer algorithms, however, it is difficult to determine where the start and end of the sleeves, especially if they are not continuous or if the picture is blurred or of poor quality. In these cases, requires human intervention, which can test computer processed image and make it your own.

A team of astronomers under the guidance of astrophysicist Patrick Treuthardt (Patrick Treuthardt) from Museum of natural Sciences North Carolina has launched a new research project Spiral Graph on the basis of the world’s largest citizen science portal Zooniverse. To get started you need to register on the site and to read the rules. When you get the image of the galaxy taken from the related DECaLS (Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey) and SDSS (Sloan Digital Sky Survey), you first need to alter her picture so that she was visible down flat, otherwise the spiral pattern will be poorly viewed. Then you must designate each of the arms of the galaxy line, and then the model you create is processed by the algorithm P2DFFT, which will determine the pitch angle. If it turns out that the galaxy might contain a black hole an intermediate-mass, for her, in the future, will lead the observations of ground-based telescopes.

Today, there are a lot of projects on citizen science, dedicated research space. Anyone can take part in the search and classification of galaxies, discovered by the telescope “Subaru” in search of the tracks of asteroids in the images of the space telescope “Hubble” and checking the results of computer algorithms that set the boundaries of the galaxies in the pictures.

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