Crowdsourcing helped to find the "yellow balls" - a new type of space objects
Astrophysicists over the Internet have studied thousands of images from the Spitzer telescope and made a real scientific discovery. They revealed a new class of space objects, which they called "yellow balls" (yellow balls), according to NASA.
This is the connecting link between the emerging star germs and newborn stars.
“After the volunteers tortured us with the question of what these“ yellow balls ”are, we studied their physical properties and nature and realized that these objects allow us to trace the first phases of the birth of large bodies. We can say that the simple question “hmm, what is it” led us to the discovery, ”said Charles Kerton of Iowa State University in Ames (USA).
The study is part of the Milky Way crowdsourcing project to classify objects in our galaxy by infrared images from Spitzer. The project is part of the larger Zooniverse initiative.
To date, volunteers have already classified 1,513,131 objects, including 582,781 gas bubbles that young stars blow out. At some point, a discussion broke out on the project’s forum over obscure objects called “yellow balls”. The question was whether to consider them gas bubbles or not.
Scientists became interested in the issue - and also drew attention to these objects. A close examination showed that these are not really bubbles, but very large stars that are just beginning to be born. Due to the large number of grains of aromatic hydrocarbons in the surrounding gas, the cloud acquires a “green” tint in the infrared range, which, when mixed with red, gives the impression of yellow. Over time, the “yellow” cloud acquires a typical “red” color in the infrared range. Volunteers managed to find about 900 such objects in the pictures of Spitzer. Now we need to analyze their distribution in order to more accurately determine the nature of the phenomenon. The online community continues to classify objects in the universe. Thanks to the efforts of Zooniverse, more than 70 scientific papers have already been published.