The Milky Way Project

So after adding in a third entry a couple of days ago, it rapidly ran ahead of the pack on the last day of voting. We had more votes on the final day than in all the time leading up to the decision. But we have a name: The Milky Way Project. Stellar Zoo was a close second, and both beat Milky Way Zoo by some way.


Over the next few days, this blog will change from ‘Project IX’ to ‘The Milky Way Project’. We have a new twitter feed @milkywayproj and eventually the URL for this blog will also change. I’ll give plenty of warning about that.

The following two weeks involve a big code push here in Oxford, to try and create a beta site for you to try out. There will be more updates soon with a sample of the first science interface on its way…

[Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech]

Suggest a Name for Project IX

For some time we have been purposefully calling this ‘Project IX’. This was done to prevent us defining the project before it has really started up. We also thought that you all might have some thoughts on the matter. Hence, we’re asking for suggestions for a name for Project IX.

What we’re not going to call it is ‘Star Formation Zoo’. That is one of the names this project has had internally, but we don’t like it. Sure, Project IX is essentially a Zoo about star formation but this doesn’t feel like a good name. In fact, it doesn’t have to be a ‘zoo’ at all. Solar Stormwatch and Project VII don’t have ‘zoo’ in the title… but I can’t talk about that.


What might inspire a name? Hopefully the science or the imagery – but really anything that comes to mind. We’re dealing with beautiful infrared, dusty images of cold regions of the Milky Way [UPDATE: and also some hotter things like young starts and heated material]. We’re looking at bubbles and young stellar objects – but hoping to spy more. (The Spitzer image above is one I call ‘the dancers’, by the way.)

If you have any ideas on what we can call Project IX, we’d love to hear them. Please leave suggestions in the comments below and we’ll start collating them. If a consensus cannot be reached, we can try a vote of Zooniverse users. Anyone can suggest a name, so if the science team is reading this, feel free to pitch in as well.

UPDATE: After letting the comments run for a while it seems that ‘Milky Way Zoo’ and ‘Stellar Zoo’ are the two more popular names. So here’s a poll – which name should we pick?

[poll id=”2″]