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Astronomers Recruit People to Chart Skies

NASA

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Astronomers are turning to “crowd-sourcing” — looking for thousands of Internet volunteers — to identify and count clusters of stars in a neighboring galaxy. More than 7,000 people have already registered at an interactive website to help scan computerized images of the Andromeda galaxy.

The website (www.andromedaproject.org ) contains about 12,000 images of our nearest spiral galaxy. Astronomers from Utah to Europe say it would take them too long to study that many images and they need help. They’re asking people to mark the star clusters in Andromeda, in a survey that will help explain how stars and galaxies form in the universe.

Experts say finding star clusters is easy but time-consuming. The clusters can appear white, blue or reddish, depending on their age. Blue stars are the youngest.

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