Wayne’s Word

July 13, 2007

I Found UFOs in the GalaxyZoo Galaxy Survery!

Filed under: General — Wayne @ 8:00 am
UFOsSounds like a tabloid headline, doesn’t it? Well, it’s true! The objects I found are unidentified (they are not galaxies, nebulas or other deep-sky objects) and I assume they are flying because they are not on the ground. I didn’t say anything about aliens.
Dashed Green LineIt all started with a photo (ref. 588007005232496884) from the Galaxy Zoo project. On July 13, Oxford University announced the Galaxy Zoo Project & website to classify galaxies with the help of ordinary people around the world. I was looking at a few galaxies to classify them and got a photo with a dashed green line in it. “This is not a galaxy,” I said to myself. (You can’t put anything by me.) I adjusted the URL parameters of the image to zoom out and enlarge the image to get the whole line. The image on the right is a section of the line. It is hard to see in the small image, click it for a larger imgage to see the line better. What can this be? Could be an asteroid or a comet, except they don’t blink and aren’t green. Could be an airplane, but where are the other lights. Also, based on the number of dashes, this looks like it only lasted a few seconds. I am sure these exposures are much longer than that.
Dashed Green LineThen I became curious about a blue smudge I saw to the right and ‘adjusted’ over to it. Then I saw the ‘superman’ lights. (Doesn’t the top red one look like the symbol on Superman’s chest?) At least now I think I know what this is: an airplane with flashing blue, green and red lights. I assume the shape of the objects is from reflections in the optics. However, I don’t understand why the lines are not longer. The exposure seems too short. Since the project suggest emailed about any unusual objects, I emailed the reference to the project. Perhaps I’ll have the answer soon.
You can click on the images above for a larger image (1000×700). Below are the links to the same images on the sky survey server. Its take a while for the images from the sky server links to load because they must be generated form the database each time.

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