On Saturday April 4, at 12:43 UT, GalaxyZoo reached its goal of 1,0000,000 galaxy classifications during the Internation Year of Astronomy – 100 Hours of Astronomy effort which ends at 16:00 UT on April 5. The ZoonoMeter filled up well ahead of the schedule after 72 hours and 43 minutes since the challange started.
The GalaxyZoo project is a bit similar to the world-known SETI@Home which opened to public almost 10 years ago (May 17, 1999). Since then millions of internet users joined the effort and donated their computer idle time to a variety of scientific research. GalaxyZoo is different in a way that it recruits members of public to carry out galaxy classfications. Unlike the @Home projects, which rely on computer analysis of their data, automated programs have been unable to produce reliable galaxy classification. Human brain is far more efficient at recognizing patterns. Without human volunteers it would take years to analyze and classify the collected data.
The Galaxy Zoo files contain almost a quarter of a million galaxies collected by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. More than 150,000 people have taken part in Galaxy Zoo so far, producing a wealth of valuable data and sending telescopes on Earth and in space chasing after their discoveries. On April 2, Galaxy Zoo hit the 20 million classification mark!