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  1. ABSTRACT

    Galaxy Zoo: Clump Scout  is a web-based citizen science project designed to identify and spatially locate giant star forming clumps in galaxies that were imaged by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Legacy Survey. We present a statistically driven software framework that is designed to aggregate two-dimensional annotations of clump locations provided by multiple independent Galaxy Zoo: Clump Scout volunteers and generate a consensus label that identifies the locations of probable clumps within each galaxy. The statistical model our framework is based on allows us to assign false-positive probabilities to each of the clumps we identify, to estimate the skill levels of each of the volunteers who contribute to Galaxy Zoo: Clump Scout and also to quantitatively assess the reliability of the consensus labels that are derived for each subject. We apply our framework to a data set containing 3561 454 two-dimensional points, which constitute 1739 259 annotations of 85 286 distinct subjects provided by 20 999 volunteers. Using this data set, we identify 128 100 potential clumps distributed among 44 126 galaxies. This data set can be used to study the prevalence and demographics of giant star forming clumps in low-redshift galaxies. The code for our aggregation software framework is publicly available at: https://github.com/ou-astrophysics/BoxAggregator

  2. ABSTRACT Astronomers have typically set out to solve supervised machine learning problems by creating their own representations from scratch. We show that deep learning models trained to answer every Galaxy Zoo DECaLS question learn meaningful semantic representations of galaxies that are useful for new tasks on which the models were never trained. We exploit these representations to outperform several recent approaches at practical tasks crucial for investigating large galaxy samples. The first task is identifying galaxies of similar morphology to a query galaxy. Given a single galaxy assigned a free text tag by humans (e.g. ‘#diffuse’), we can find galaxies matching that tag for most tags. The second task is identifying the most interesting anomalies to a particular researcher. Our approach is 100 per cent accurate at identifying the most interesting 100 anomalies (as judged by Galaxy Zoo 2 volunteers). The third task is adapting a model to solve a new task using only a small number of newly labelled galaxies. Models fine-tuned from our representation are better able to identify ring galaxies than models fine-tuned from terrestrial images (ImageNet) or trained from scratch. We solve each task with very few new labels; either one (for the similarity search) or several hundredmore »(for anomaly detection or fine-tuning). This challenges the longstanding view that deep supervised methods require new large labelled data sets for practical use in astronomy. To help the community benefit from our pretrained models, we release our fine-tuning code zoobot. Zoobot is accessible to researchers with no prior experience in deep learning.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 2, 2023
  3. Abstract

    Massive, star-forming clumps are a common feature of high-redshift star-forming galaxies. How they formed, and why they are so rare at low redshift, remains unclear. In this paper we identify the largest sample yet of clumpy galaxies (7050) at low redshift using data from the citizen science project Galaxy Zoo: Clump Scout, in which volunteers classified 58,550 Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) galaxies spanning redshift 0.02 <z< 0.15. We apply a robust completeness correction by comparing with simulated clumps identified by the same method. Requiring that the ratio of clump to galaxy flux in the SDSSuband be greater than 8% (similar to clump definitions used by other works), we estimate the fraction of local star-forming galaxies hosting at least one clump (fclumpy) to be3.220.34+0.38%. We also compute the same fraction with a less stringent relative flux cut of 3% (12.680.88+1.38%), as the higher number count and lower statistical noise of this fraction permit finer comparison with future low-redshift clumpy galaxy studies. Our results reveal a sharp decline infclumpyover 0 <z< 0.5. The minor merger rate remains roughly constant over the same span, so we suggest that minor mergers are unlikely to be themore »primary driver of clump formation. Instead, the rate of galaxy turbulence is a better tracer forfclumpyover 0 <z< 1.5 for galaxies of all masses, which supports the idea that clump formation is primarily driven by violent disk instability for all galaxy populations during this period.

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  4. Abstract We describe the Gems of the Galaxy Zoos (Zoo Gems) project, a gap-filler project using short windows in the Hubble Space Telescope's schedule. As with previous snapshot programs, targets are taken from a pool based on position; we combine objects selected by volunteers in both the Galaxy Zoo and Radio Galaxy Zoo citizen-science projects. Zoo Gems uses exposures with the Advanced Camera for Surveys to address a broad range of topics in galaxy morphology, interstellar-medium content, host galaxies of active galactic nuclei, and galaxy evolution. Science cases include studying galaxy interactions, backlit dust in galaxies, post-starburst systems, rings and peculiar spiral patterns, outliers from the usual color–morphology relation, Green Pea compact starburst systems, double radio sources with spiral host galaxies, and extended emission-line regions around active galactic nuclei. For many of these science categories, final selection of targets from a larger list used public input via a voting process. Highlights to date include the prevalence of tightly wound spiral structure in blue, apparently early-type galaxies, a nearly complete Einstein ring from a group lens, redder components at lower surface brightness surrounding compact Green Pea starbursts, and high-probability examples of spiral galaxies hosting large double radio sources.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 7, 2023
  5. Camera traps - remote cameras that capture images of passing wildlife - have become a ubiquitous tool in ecology and conservation. Systematic camera trap surveys generate ‘Big Data’ across broad spatial and temporal scales, providing valuable information on environmental and anthropogenic factors affecting vulnerable wildlife populations. However, the sheer number of images amassed can quickly outpace researchers’ ability to manually extract data from these images (e.g., species identities, counts, and behaviors) in timeframes useful for making scientifically-guided conservation and management decisions. Here, we present ‘Snapshot Safari’ as a case study for merging citizen science and machine learning to rapidly generate highly accurate ecological Big Data from camera trap surveys. Snapshot Safari is a collaborative cross-continental research and conservation effort with 1500+ cameras deployed at over 40 eastern and southern Africa protected areas, generating millions of images per year. As one of the first and largest-scale camera trapping initiatives, Snapshot Safari spearheaded innovative developments in citizen science and machine learning. We highlight the advances made and discuss the issues that arose using each of these methods to annotate camera trap data. We end by describing how we combined human and machine classification methods (‘Crowd AI’) to create an efficient integrated datamore »pipeline. Ultimately, by using a feedback loop in which humans validate machine learning predictions and machine learning algorithms are iteratively retrained on new human classifications, we can capitalize on the strengths of both methods of classification while mitigating the weaknesses. Using Crowd AI to quickly and accurately ‘unlock’ ecological Big Data for use in science and conservation is revolutionizing the way we take on critical environmental issues in the Anthropocene era.« less
  6. ABSTRACT We present Galaxy Zoo DECaLS: detailed visual morphological classifications for Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey images of galaxies within the SDSS DR8 footprint. Deeper DECaLS images (r = 23.6 versus r = 22.2 from SDSS) reveal spiral arms, weak bars, and tidal features not previously visible in SDSS imaging. To best exploit the greater depth of DECaLS images, volunteers select from a new set of answers designed to improve our sensitivity to mergers and bars. Galaxy Zoo volunteers provide 7.5 million individual classifications over 314 000 galaxies. 140 000 galaxies receive at least 30 classifications, sufficient to accurately measure detailed morphology like bars, and the remainder receive approximately 5. All classifications are used to train an ensemble of Bayesian convolutional neural networks (a state-of-the-art deep learning method) to predict posteriors for the detailed morphology of all 314 000 galaxies. We use active learning to focus our volunteer effort on the galaxies which, if labelled, would be most informative for training our ensemble. When measured against confident volunteer classifications, the trained networks are approximately 99 per cent accurate on every question. Morphology is a fundamental feature of every galaxy; our human and machine classifications are an accurate and detailed resource for understanding how galaxies evolve.
  7. Abstract Giant, star-forming clumps are a common feature prevalent among high-redshift star-forming galaxies and play a critical role in shaping their chaotic morphologies and yet, their nature and role in galaxy evolution remains to be fully understood. A majority of the effort to study clumps has been focused at high redshifts, and local clump studies have often suffered from small sample sizes. In this work, we present an analysis of clump properties in the local universe, and for the first time, performed with a statistically significant sample. With the help of the citizen science-powered Galaxy Zoo: Hubble project, we select a sample of 92 z < 0.06 clumpy galaxies in Sloan Digital Sky Survey Stripe 82 galaxies. Within this sample, we identify 543 clumps using a contrast-based image analysis algorithm and perform photometry as well as estimate their stellar population properties. The overall properties of our z < 0.06 clump sample are comparable to the high-redshift clumps. However, contrary to the high-redshift studies, we find no evidence of a gradient in clump ages or masses as a function of their galactocentric distances. Our results challenge the inward migration scenario for clump evolution for the local universe, potentially suggesting a largermore »contribution of ex situ clumps and/or longer clump migration timescales.« less
  8. Abstract

    We use new Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images of nine Green Pea galaxies (GPGs) to study their resolved structure and color. The choice of filters, F555W and F850LP, together with the redshift of the galaxies (z∼ 0.25), minimizes the contribution of the nebular [Oiii] and Hαemission lines to the broadband images. While these galaxies are typically very blue in color, our analysis reveals that it is only the dominant stellar clusters that are blue. Each GPG does clearly show the presence of at least one bright and compact star-forming region, but these are invariably superimposed on a more extended and lower surface brightness emission. Moreover, the colors of the star-forming regions are on average bluer than those of the diffuse emission, reaching up to 0.6 magnitudes bluer. Assuming that the diffuse and compact components have constant and single-burst star formation histories, respectively, the observed colors imply that the diffuse components (possibly the host galaxy of the star formation episode) have, on average, old stellar ages (>1 Gyr), while the star clusters are younger than 500 Myr. While a redder stellar component is perhaps the most plausible explanation for these results, the limitations of our current data set lead usmore »to examine possible alternative mechanisms, particularly recombination emission processes, which are unusually prominent in systems with such strong line emission. With the available data, however, it is not possible to distinguish between these two interpretations. A substantial presence of old stars would indicate that the mechanisms allowing large escape fractions in these local galaxies may be different from those at play during the reionization epoch.

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  9. We present a catalog of results of gamma-ray observations made by VERITAS, published from 2008 to 2020. VERITAS is a ground based imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescope observatory located at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) in southern Arizona, sensitive to gamma-ray photons with energies in the range of ∼ 100 GeV - 30 TeV. Its observation targets include galactic sources such as binary star systems, pulsar wind nebulae, and supernova remnants, extragalactic sources like active galactic nuclei, star forming galaxies, and gamma-ray bursts, and some unidentified objects. The catalog includes in digital form all of the high-level science results published in 112 papers using VERITAS data and currently contains data on 57 sources. The catalog has been made accessible via GitHub and at NASA's HEASARC.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 18, 2023