DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

astronomy

Jun 28 2010

The Zooniverse

by Jesse M


When I was younger, I had aspirations of making a career in science. Initially I was most fascinated by paleontology (the study of pre-historic life) but as I grew older I became more and more interested in the space sciences. Originally this manifested as the relatively common childhood desire to be an astronaut, though as time passed I realized it was unlikely that I would ever have the opportunity to become one. As the years progressed I maintained an interest in the space sciences and continued to consume related media on a casual basis, but my choice of courses in high school and college sent me on a career path in the social sciences rather than the astronomical fields I’d been interested in as a youth. These days, my enthusiasm for space science is mostly evidenced by my love of science fiction novels and short stories. Library work is very rewarding, but there isn’t much opportunity to advance the cause of science while on the job. Luckily for me, there is a website called Zooniverse which simultaneously satisfies the desire of amateur enthusiasts like myself to contribute in some fashion to the scientific community while also utilizing the power of crowdsourcing to assist scientists and researchers deal with the flood of incoming data they receive from astronomical instruments.

How does it work? Just head over to the site and check out the list of active projects (such as classifying galaxies or exploring the lunar surface). Select one that you’d like to participate in, watch the tutorial, and get started!

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Sep 21 2009

We are the Earth

by Amanda L

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The DeKalb County Public Library system is participating in the Metro Atlanta Solar System (MASS) project. Chris Dupree, a professor of astronomy and director of the Bradley Observatory at Agnes Scott College, created this project.

The MASS project is a scale model of the solar system. The sun is located at the Bradley Observatory plaza at Agnes Scott. The Decatur Library represents the earth. The project uses the same scale for both the planetary size and their distances from the Sun. The scale of the model is approximately 1:150,000,000. Want to know where the other locations are and more about the project? Check out this link to Agnes Scott’s web page.

Interested in learning more about the solar system?

The library has several books about the solar system. We even have the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Astronomy written by Chris Dupree.

Here are a few more you might want to check out.
Lives of the Planets

Lives of the Planets: A natural history of the solar system by R.M. Corfield

The Planets by Dava Sobel

The Planets by Dava Sobel

Infinite Worlds

Infinite Worlds: an illustrated voyage to planets beyond our sun. by Ray Villard

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May 29 2009

The Universe Scale

by Jesse M

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The internet is full of many fascinating resources which combine educational material with a dynamic and entertaining format that can capture the interest of individuals of all ages. A great example of this is the Universcale. It is an animation which allows us “to view all entities, from the microworld to the universe, from a single perspective. By setting them up against a scale, we are able to compare and understand things which cannot be physically compared.”
Truly epic in the scope of its examination, it begins with the largest objects (the known universe, galaxies, etc.) and descends down to the infinitesimal extremes of the subatomic level. The animation illustrates the incredible range of size across the spectrum of existence, allowing us a unique perspective on the diversity of our reality by going to the edge of and beyond the limits of normal human perception.

microaliens-coverIn a similar vein, the DCPL catalog boasts materials in a variety of media covering subjects ranging from the microscopic (Life on a Small Scale, Microaliens) to the astronomical (The Universe DVD series).  Expand your mind by exploring our universe.

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