Modern robotic telescopes acquire images of hundred millions, and sometimes billions of galaxies. However, no person or group of people is large enough to effectively inspect these images. Computer science student Evan Kuminski applied advanced computer vision to analyze the morphology of about 3,000,000 bright galaxies imaged by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) robotic telescope. Using these algorithms he was able to deduce the morphology of the galaxies automatically, producing the world’s largest catalog of galaxy morphology. His catalog is far larger than any other attempt to produce a catalog of its kind.
His paper describing the catalog was published in the prestigious Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, and was selected by the American Astronomical Society (AAS) as Editor Highlight, a selection made for the most significant scientific advancements. A story describing the paper is available in Nova AAS.
The catalog itself is now included in the public database of SDSS so that researchers from all over the world can use it. Since the shape of galaxies contains important information about our universe, the catalog opens a new window to understand galaxy shapes in the context of superstructures and large scale structure of the universe.