Today on the advent calendar we’re asking for your help on Galaxy Zoo.

One of the Galaxy Zoo researchers is a graduate student called Mel, who has to write-up her thesis by the start of the summer. Mel’s thesis will include a study on how the population of red disk galaxies in the Universe has changed between now and 6 billion years ago.

Properly determining a galaxy’s shape is particularly difficult for some of the very distant galaxies in the sample, which is why Galaxy Zoo previously implemented simulated galaxies to help us measure how classifications subtly change as a function of galaxy distance. Mel wanted to use a similar technique for her project, but needed a large sample of both red and blue simulated galaxies for it to work. So she used a code called FERENGI to create new images of 936 real galaxies, previously classified by you in Galaxy Zoo, at eight different distances for a total of 7,488 simulated images.

Once these have all been classified, she can measure how classifications of red and blue galaxies are affected by distance. That information can then be applied to the real galaxies classified in Galaxy Zoo: Hubble, to properly measure the number of red and blue disks at different times in the Universe’s evolution.

However, at the current rate of classifications on Galaxy Zoo, the images will not be processed in time for Mel to perform this study. She needs your help!

Save Mel’s thesis now at www.galaxyzoo.org.