Update, 25th July 2009: Welcome and thanks for coming to anyone who clicked "sing" on Jules's great Birthday Object of the Day for Galaxy Zoo. Scroll down to below the comet picture to find the alternative, Zoo-ified lyrics for the song by Brian May!
(I really think I should change "never ate" to "never slept" - considering how much we talk about food these days!)
Another Galaxy Zoo update, because quite frankly I haven't thought about anything else for the last two weeks. Classifying is working again, as is Favourites and My Galaxies - speaking of which, how would you classify this?
Apparently our peak traffic is 300 classifications (whole long galaxy classifications, that is, not just clicks) per second! At this rate we will be done in a few weeks, so the zookeepers had better hurry up with the next project. The general press coverage thread seems to be going well, and the print journalists' failure so far to get the story hasn't prevented this round being twice as popular as it was in August 2007! Chris has written up his take, and our programming genius Arfon has been keeping us up to speed with each development on the Galaxy Zoo Blog sometimes more than once a day, as each new feature gets installed. We were coping with the traffic by allowing people to access "My Favourites" after they'd had their account for 3 days. Speaking of "My Favourites", that's provided interesting news.
The forum and my inbox have both been manic. I've completely revamped the picture-posting guide and have got round to starting to organise some new tutorials and splitting the Help board into forum and astronomy help. Two weeks ago, I had the task of writing to a lot of people to ask them if they'd like to be interviewed about Galaxy Zoo, as members of the public, and feel bad about this now because after all the nervousness and excitement this generated, evidently it wasn't taken up. You never do know what the press will do, I suppose.
We've had a great piece of news: ZookeeperKevin has been awarded an Einstein Fellowship! Now he can spend the next three years studying high energy astrophysics to his heart's content, but he should also have plenty of time for Galaxy Zoo. Many congratulations, Kevin. On a less exalted but still smile-generating note, we now have a Galaxy Zoo Shop - if only it would accept my debit card.
Moving on to general astronomy news, apparently this week is the best time to see Comet Lulin, and tonight is your last chance to vote for what Hubble should look at in April.
Comet Lulin courtesy of APOD:
I rather feel like celebrating our wonderful Galaxy Zoo community and the happiness it generates all over again, so I thought I'd rewrite a song I wrote - or rather, spoofed - back when Dr Brian May got his PhD and prompted a happy thread.
The old words were written back when we were all classifying at top speed, and the original target of each galaxy classified 10 times was achieved not in 3-5 years, but in 3 weeks, and we were dreading Galaxy Zoo being over very quickly. This new version ends more happily than the last one, and indeed Dr Brian's original!
In the year of '07 assembled here the volunteers
In the days when galaxies were new
Here the screen zoomed out into the cold and starry skies
The sweetest sights ever seen.
And night followed day
And the zookeepers all say
Thousands score brave souls classified
For many a happy day clicked the mouse and talked away
Ne'er did work, never ate, just applied.
Yes, we heard your call, though we’re many miles away
Through websites and news from you,
All the stars across the sky, mysteries to satisfy
In the land of our Galaxy Zoo.
In the year of '08 came in some news to make us blue
60 million great clicks, they say
No more left to do at our dear, beloved Zoo
Thus our hearts all heavily weigh.
But we all still want to play, classify come what may
So, dear Team, that cannot be!
Lots of us will still be here, to click "elliptical" next year
On the site where astronomers grew.
Don’t you hear our call, zookeepers of the stars?
Don’t you hear us calling you?
All the spirals we have seen would be left a lovely dream
When time's up for our Galaxy Zoo.
Yes, they heard our call, those keepers of the stars,
Yes, they heard and made Zoo 2!
Still have galaxies and space, all around the human race,
All the science
Let us see.