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Galaxy Zoo Produces a Rare Specimen

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the hanny's-voorwerp dept.

Space 188

We discussed the Galaxy Zoo project soon after it launched last summer. Science News is now following developments about an odd celestial object that is fueling a lot of excitement among astronomers around the world. In August, a Dutch schoolteacher named Hanny, in the process of characterizing galaxy images, noticed a peculiar object and posted a query about it on the Galaxy Zoo blog. She called it a "Voorwerp," which Science News says is Dutch for "thing" but which Google translates as "subject." Hanny's Voorwerp emits mostly green light (the earlier report said blue). The best guess astronomers have now is that the Voorwerp is emitting "ghost light," i.e. it is "lit by the ultraviolet light and X-rays from a quasar that has vanished in the last 100,000 years," to quote astronomer Bill Keel. "As far as we can tell, it's an unprecedented thing," Keel added. Researchers are scrambling to book time on the Hubble and other major telescopes to get a closer look.

Voorwerp

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image in the post? (5, Funny)

anotherone (132088) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896135)

this is the first time I've ever seen slashdot put an image in the post- welcome to 2001, guys!

Re:image in the post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896149)

Ditto...

Re:image in the post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896347)

Congradulations [youtube.com] , Slashdot.

Re:image in the post? (4, Funny)

digidave (259925) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896161)

Do you mean Borg Gates isn't good enough for you?

Re:image in the post? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896793)

Borg Gates should be enough for anyone

Re:image in the post? (5, Interesting)

sycotic (26352) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896211)

I was thinking exactly the same thing.

I've been reading this site since 2000 and I can't recall *ever* seeing an image on the front page, I don't even think there was one for that monster thread about 9/11 as it unfolded...

Re:image in the post? (2, Funny)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896355)

They obviously opted for the High-Res version too!


Images on slashdot is about as dangerous as images in email. At least they included an alt tag.

Re:image in the post? (2, Insightful)

hengdi (1202709) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896401)

And just about the shortest amount of time that any image has ever taken to be slashdotted, as well!

Re:image in the post? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896513)

A Slashdotted image, that is.

Re:image in the post? (1, Insightful)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896569)

And given the number of readers here, hotlinking images like that could be seen as malicious.

Re:image in the post? (5, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896607)

It isn't a hotlink:

http://images.slashdot.org/articles/08/06/voorwerp-wht1.jpg [slashdot.org]

An image hosted on your server and placed inside an anchor tag is called a 'link'. Putting an image hosted on another server inside an image tag is a 'hotlink'.

Re:image in the post? (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896619)

this is the first time I've ever seen slashdot put an image in the post- welcome to 2001, guys!

They figured we were all blinded by goatse.
     

Re:image in the post? (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896719)

At this pace, in 25 years or so, there might even be a youtube video embedded in a Slashdot post.

Re:image in the post? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896959)

I prefer it to NOT do that. Clutters up the main page more than usual. I thought it got done once or twice in the past but was immediately removed?

Re:image in the post? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23897581)

Sadly, the image is not in the RSS feed. This follows the age old practice of also not including the in-article links in RSS, requiring unnecessary extra clicks and bandwidth usage.

Voorwerp = Thing (4, Informative)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896139)

Voorwerp is 'thing' in Dutch. But when you would like to say 'thing' in Dutch, you would obviously use 'ding'.

Re:Voorwerp = Thing (4, Informative)

Basje (26968) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896199)

"Item" is a better translation of "voorwerp". "Subject" would be "onderwerp".

Re:Voorwerp = Thing (3, Insightful)

denver38 (1050472) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896315)

Indeed, and it's not "thing" neither ("ding"). I would call it an "object".

Re:Voorwerp = Thing (5, Informative)

pnagel (107544) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896669)

Actually, "object" is an even better translation of "voorwerp".

And it makes better sense in context too: "astronomers find mystery object" sounds find. "Astronomers find mystery thing" sounds stilted.

Re:Voorwerp = Thing (1)

pheldens (990493) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896827)

or object

Re:Voorwerp = Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896951)

Can something be both "Object" & "Subject"? I don't wish to pick a fight with Google, but the former would seem to be the better translation...

Re:Voorwerp = Thing (4, Informative)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896973)

"Object" would be the most accurate translation, taking into account the subject matter.

Re:Voorwerp = Thing (2, Informative)

tsjaikdus (940791) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897171)

'wat een prachtig voorwerp' translates to 'what a beautiful object'

Even with Google.

Re:Voorwerp = Thing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896213)

Probably the English word "object" would be more appropriate here then "thing". And as a plus, it directly translates to Dutch and back again.

Re:Voorwerp = Thing (1)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896651)

As a Dutchman I can say that is correct. Thing = ding Object = voorwerp Subject = onderwerp There is a little bit more too it of course, translation depends on context. E.g. we have more words for (almost) the same thing, similar as in English.

Re:Voorwerp = Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896229)

I think in this context 'object' would be the most appropriate translation

Voorwerp = object (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896225)

The correct translation would be 'object'. I can understand the confusion with 'subject', but Dutch people would then say 'onderwerp', never 'voorwerp'.

Re:Voorwerp = object (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896325)

I agree. "Voorwerp" in the sense of "thing" should be translated "object". The translation "subject" comes from the fact that "voorwerp" is also used as a grammatical term. Clearly that's not the appropriate sense here.

Re:Voorwerp = object (2, Informative)

DirtySouthAfrican (984664) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896453)

I think google means 'subject' like, an artist or photographer's 'subject', rather than say, math, history or entomology.

Hey.... (4, Funny)

Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896231)

That's my taxi-ride home. Thank Xenu!

It is an Excession.. (4, Funny)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896249)

..and we're about to have an Outside Context Problem

Re:It is an Excession.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896731)

Where's the Sleeper Service?

He took his Voorwerp sword in hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896255)

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The Voorwerp blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

Simple Explanation (0)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896269)

Either Shrek or Hulk, or both farted. (Who says summer movies are not good for science?)

Image Offsite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896271)

Someone PLEASE get this on Flickr. It's pathetic that the server can't handle even 4 minutes of Slashdot.

The Death Star (1)

KozmoKramer (1117173) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896279)

That's no moon.

Voorwerp translates best to object. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896285)

Both suggested translations are not really correct. I would translate it to "object".

Voorwerp? (4, Funny)

thewiz (24994) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896311)

I didn't know that was a word.
That was the sound I made last time I threw up.
Whodathunkit.

Re:Voorwerp? (4, Funny)

hkz (1266066) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896405)

I'm Dutch, and the proper translation of voorwerp is actually 'object', though 'thing' comes close enough. We have a funny language sometimes. I like words like 'zodra' and 'zoiets', and saying 'goeiemorgen' has the benefit of being offensive to Russians the way we pronounce it, which since yesterday is a good thing :-)

Re:Voorwerp? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23897045)

Voorwerp is actually an odd word now that I really think about it. It is both generic, which is why it can be properly translated as "thing", and specific, in that it implies a purpose in the item it refers to (the exact purpose to be determined by the context it is used in). It can be translated as tool, thing, object, or item depending on the context it is used in.

Example uses of voorwerp, which all have different translations:
lijdend voorwerp - object (in grammar) [wikipedia.org]
meewerkend voorwerp - dative case [wikipedia.org]
gevonden voorwerpen - lost & found [wikipedia.org] (typically referring both to the items and the booth/office to reclaim them)
onbekend vliegend voorwerp - unidentified flying object [wikipedia.org]

Regarding the context of TFA, there is a very subtle implication which gets lost in whatever translation you may attempt: voorwerp implies a solid (crafted) object, which is why "thing" is the best translation in this case. It is very odd to refer to a celestial cloud as a solid item, and it says a lot about the peculiarity of the voorwerp...

Re:Voorwerp? (1)

DoubleEdd (178052) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897077)

It's a name that kind of stuck rather than being chosen by a large committee discussing all the details, to be honest!

Re:Voorwerp? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23897253)

How do you like "slechtstschrijvende" (no offense) ?

It's probably shorter if you write that bitch of an adjective phonetically in Russian...

Re:Voorwerp? (1)

notnAP (846325) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897651)

...offensive to Russians the way we pronounce it, which since yesterday is a good thing :-)

I put the over/under on American /. users who get this reference at about 5%.

Re:Voorwerp? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896891)

I guess if you only speak English and lack a sense of humor you would make a joke like that and get a Score 3 Funny from a panel that has the same specifications.

If possible give this reply a score in the informative category.

Slashdotted! (1)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896335)

W00t! Another one bites the dust!

I would translate "Voorwerp" as "Object".
It's weird. That thing, whatever it might be, is probably quadrillions times bigger than our Earth, it's looking at us, and we have no idea what it is.
I for one welcome our new Voorwerp-overlords.

Obviously An Ad For... (3, Funny)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896337)

Re:Obviously An Ad For... (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897543)

You mean...could this really be...the Great Green Arkleseizure? It looks green enough to me, and surely will not fit into my back yard.

What's the rush? (3, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896349)

Researchers are scrambling to book time on the Hubble and other major telescopes to get a closer look.
What's the rush? Isn't this celestial thing going to be out there and available for, say, the next few million years or so?

Re:What's the rush? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896443)

Researchers are scrambling to book time on the Hubble and other major telescopes to get a closer look.

What's the rush? Isn't this celestial thing going to be out there and available for, say, the next few million years or so?

The anomaly will be there.

The fanboys for early-bird-scientists won't.

Re:What's the rush? (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896469)

To beat the other astronomers.

Re:What's the rush? (3, Funny)

CanadianRealist (1258974) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896557)

Some astronomers want to use the Hubble telescope to beat other astronomers?

I always thought these guys were just a bunch of nerds, but now they're going to get physical and become violent?

Mods on crack again? (0, Troll)

IvyKing (732111) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897391)

I thought CanadianRealist's post was pretty funny - though maybe a bit sexist as there are quite a few women astronomers out there.

Re:What's the rush? (4, Funny)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896687)

To beat the other astronomers.

It's Slashdot 1st post syndrome in the real world!

Re:What's the rush? (4, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896489)

The credit for the first paper to explain it, or to give the most feasible explanations cited by the next crop of graduate students, isn't going to be available for long. Discovering genuinely new classes of celestial objects depends very much on timing.

Re:What's the rush? (0, Troll)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896633)

The unexpected can tell you 2 kind of things... that there is something that we dont know, or that there are something in what we are wrong. Looking at the show is not so urgent, but finding an explanation for the unknown (specially, being the 1st doing so), is.

Re:What's the rush? (2, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896921)

Isn't this celestial thing going to be out there and available for, say, the next few million years or so?

The Hubble, however, will most definitely not [wikipedia.org] .

Re:What's the rush? (2, Informative)

Zanzibar Q. Tarquin (1312345) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897453)

"Isn't this celestial thing going to be out there and available for, say, the next few million years or so?" --- If the current theory is correct, what we see is the result of an event that has long since ended - the glow of the Voorwerp being a "light echo". This means that the energy provided by the initial event could cease at any time, changing the nature of the Voorwerp. Also, the earler it is investigated, the better chance we have of understanding the true nature of the original event.

Voorwerp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896353)

In this meaning 'voorwerp' is a thing or object (which is a better translation here) but when you are talking about dissecting sentences a 'voorwerp' is not even a subject. Bad google.

Green, Blue? (4, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896373)

How far away is this 'thing' and what sort of red shift should we be factoring into its true color?

Once that has been answerd, what sorts of atoms would emit that wavelength when excited by a radiation source?

Re:Green, Blue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896493)

I don't know! Sheesh, some people!

Re:Green, Blue? (5, Informative)

cathector (972646) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896749)

for the first part,
according to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , "the highest confirmed spectroscopic redshift of a galaxy is ... z = 6.96.", and if i interpret the formulas there correctly, emittedWavelength = observedWavelength / (z + 1), so if this thing has the maximum known redshift and the observed wavelength is say 550nm, then the emitted wavelength would be about 70nm or 7e-6cm, so pretty well in the UV [sciencebuddies.org] .

for the second part, atoms emit across a wide range of wavelengths [gsu.edu] .
so it's more a matter of how much energy is driving the emission.

Re:Green, Blue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896797)

And do you honestly think that there aren't a few hundred astronomers who have already asked those questions?

Re:Green, Blue? (1)

cathector (972646) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897063)

and you think that's not a reason to ask them here ?

Re:Green, Blue? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23897059)

Bill Keel has made a page devoted to Hanny's Voorwerp with links to relevant sites; all the current data can be accessed from here: http://www.astr.ua.edu/keel/research/voorwerp.html
p.s. Hi Waveney!

Re:Green, Blue? (5, Informative)

DoubleEdd (178052) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897103)

It's a redshift of 0.05 - six or seven hundred million light years away. We also have spectra of the voorwerp, so we know something about the atoms that make it up. You'll see some of these spectra at http://www.galaxyzooblog.org/2008/03/20/voorwerp-fever/ with the elements emitting the lines labelled.

Object summary (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23897157)

http://www.astr.ua.edu.nyud.net/keel/research/voorwerp.html

Whatever you do ... (1)

Fallen Andy (795676) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896375)

don't open the box [youtube.com] . (well it does look like a frog doesn't it?).

Andy

Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896393)

This thread is useless without...hey, would you look at that!

Zoo (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896413)

Where is the "Don't feed the Voorwerp" sign?

Re:Zoo (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896711)

Right here:

Die nichten feeden da Voorwerp!!!

Re:Zoo (3, Interesting)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897491)

Dutch != Deutsch == German

The proper Dutch translation would be:

Voorwerp niet voeren!

Or, the Dutch funny edition:

Niet voeren da Voorwerp!

Or, the Anglo-Dutch funny edition:

Niet food'n da Voorwerp!

Daddy, what's that Voorwerp? (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897545)

That's a Dangerous.
And that one?
That's also a Dangerous.
All Voorwerps are Dangerous.

Frogs in Space (1)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896445)

Did anyone else see Kermit the Frog in this image?

Re:Frogs in Space (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896839)

"It's not easy being green."

Re:Frogs in Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896961)

I will after I eat this.

I'd say... (1)

ToastBusters (1247286) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896541)

I'd say it's God's booger.

Re:I'd say... (2, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896809)

I'd say it's God's booger.
And we should fear the coming of the great handkerchief. If our glorious leaders decide to build a "B Ark" it'll be time to overthrow them (if it isn't already overdue).

Re:I'd say... (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897263)

I'd say it's God's booger.

Indeed. I'm letting you guess how God made clouds of comets [wikipedia.org] . If then you consider the theories of panspermia, you'll eventually realise the real nature of our planet.

That's right, the Earth is an ovule. Now you know.

Meaning of Voorwerp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896565)

"Voorwerp" can be object or item.
In this context the closest translation would be "object".

The Vorrwerp Story (5, Informative)

Waveney (301457) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896591)

Green vs. Blue (0)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896617)

The original article probably said the light was blue because many languages out there do not make a distinction between the colors green and blue.

Re:Green vs. Blue (4, Informative)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896771)

No.
Its because those pics only use 3 of the 5 colour channels.
As there are no R/G/B sensors, everything is an approximation.
Some of the early ones looked blue, even though green would be a better optical equivalent (most likely because they weighted some near UV radiation as blue)

Re:Green vs. Blue (1)

bigsmoke (701591) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896779)

Dutch does have this distinction. Green is 'groen' and blue is 'blauw'.

Re:Green vs. Blue (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896801)

Well thanks. I was trying to look this up but obviously my google-foo has failed me.

Re:Green vs. Blue (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897465)

because many languages out there do not make a distinction between the colors green and blue.
That is interesting if true. Can you give some examples?

Re:Green vs. Blue (1)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897513)

link [wikipedia.org] You may NOT be eaten by a grue. ;-)

T

Wowee (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896625)

Are you kidding me? We slashdotted Science News? And they didn't even release a webbrowser?

'Voorwerp' = 'Object' (2, Informative)

ABoerma (941672) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896777)

'Voorwerp' would be most accurately traslated as 'Object'.

Mod parent up (1)

MedeaMelana (1016001) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896879)

"object" is indeed the most appropriate translation in this case.

Re:'Voorwerp' = 'Object' (1)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897357)

'Voorwerp' would be most accurately traslated as 'Object'.

For the language nerds, it might be interesting to know that 'voorwerp' is in fact a direct loan translation [wikipedia.org] of Latin 'obiectum' (object).

It might be a threat. Destroy it! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896981)

I recommend photon torpedoes.

Thing at sector 5, 7 : "AAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEEEEAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!"
Thing at sector 5, 7 : "HACK! HACK! COUGH! *CHOKE!*"
Mr. Spock : "FASCINATING!"

Re:It might be a threat. Destroy it! (1)

Quasimodem (719423) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897199)

Just so long a FoxGnus doesn't start referring to it as a 'Voorwerpofascist.'

There's only one thing it can be. (1)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897009)

Let's start running away now. greenfly [wikipedia.org]

I, for one, (0, Redundant)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897139)

I, for one, [upenn.edu] welcome our green-thing-in-space-in-a-/.-post overlords

looks like (1)

seventhc (636528) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897401)

Kermit the frog.

Voorwerp? (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897417)

Looks more like a Quagaar to me.

U.F.O. (0, Troll)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897471)

Unknown F*king-image-in-slashdot-post Object

Voorwerp = Object (1)

spectre_be (664735) | more than 5 years ago | (#23897721)

I suppose that's talking semantics but then again, it is the more accurate translation.

Oh yea; ghost light, cool!!

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