HEN News 01/2024 (The one with Zooniverse and Chaos Computer Club in it)

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Thu, 01/11/2024 - 19:55

I'd like to start a series of semi-regular (say ca once every 2 weeks) series of news for the HEN forum subscribers here...if this catches on we could also maybe have semi-regular zoom meetings later, like other observing sections have now.

This week, I'd like to draw attention to a project that allows you to contribute to the science of Gamma Ray Burst from the comfort of an armchair:


The Burst-Chaser project asks for help to classify gamma ray bursts. I think some people will ask "isn't this done by Artificial Intelligence these days", but I think it's fair to say that to work really well, many AI projects work by training their artificial neural networks on training sets that have to be prepared by humans first, and often classification projects on Zooniverse take this route: first gather data that is "tagged" by human volunteers, then let machines take over. We will see how this project will evolve.

While we are on the subject of Gamma Ray Bursts: There was a nice talk directed to the general public (actually more towards science "nerds", perhaps..) given at this years 37th congress of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC). Usually those events feature talks about "computer hacking" and computer politics , like how to open a car without having the keys for it or how to promote open software etc etc, but there were also talks about science as because, well, a room full of nerds just demands to know stuff.

This one https://media.ccc.de/v/37c3-12032-about_gamma-ray_bursts_and_boats is really interesting IMHO. One of the speakers, Sylvia Zhu, was working in the same research group I'm working in before she moved to DESY https://astroparticle-physics.desy.de/about_us/group_members/gamma_astronomy/index_eng.html . Before she was working in the team of the FERMI satellite.