Zooniverse_sunspot_poster_20130628.pdf (4.19 MB)

The Big, the Bad and the Ugly – Citizen scientist sunspot classification with Sunspot Zoo

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Poster presented at the "UK National Astronomy Meeting 2013" conference, 1st - 5th July 2013, St. Andrews, Scotland.


It is not currently possible to forecast solar flare occurrence to a high degree of accuracy. One of the best predictors for the occurrence of flares is that a sunspot group has already produced large flares. Without prior activity the best predictions are generally achieved by systems using human-based visual recognition. The aims of Sunspot Zoo are:

 * To stimulate interest in solar physics and citizen science in school students and the public,
 * To create a crowd-sourced sunspot group complexity ranking
 * To test if complexity predicts flaring

Sunspot Zoo will soon be made available through Zooniverse.org to allow large-scale participation. An outreach programme will bring Sunspot Zoo to schools in Ireland this Autumn.