Galaxy Zoo: 3D – crowdsourced bar, spiral, and foreground star masks for MaNGA target galaxies

Karen L Masters, Coleman Krawczyk, Shoaib Shamsi, Alexander Todd, Daniel Finnegan, Matthew Bershady, Kevin Bundy, Brian Cherinka, Amelia Fraser-McKelvie, Dhanesh Krishnarao, Sandor Kruk, Richard R Lane, David Law, Chris Lintott, Michael Merrifield, Brooke Simmons, Anne-Marie Weijmans, Renbin Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The challenge of consistent identification of internal structure in galaxies – in particular disc galaxy components like spiral arms, bars, and bulges – has hindered our ability to study the physical impact of such structure across large samples. In this paper we present Galaxy Zoo: 3D (GZ:3D) a crowdsourcing project built on the Zooniverse platform that we used to create spatial pixel (spaxel) maps that identify galaxy centres, foreground stars, galactic bars, and spiral arms for 29 831 galaxies that were potential targets of the MaNGA survey (Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory, part of the fourth phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Surveys or SDSS-IV), including nearly all of the 10 010 galaxies ultimately observed. Our crowdsourced visual identification of asymmetric internal structures provides valuable insight on the evolutionary role of non-axisymmetric processes that is otherwise lost when MaNGA data cubes are azimuthally averaged. We present the publicly available GZ:3D catalogue alongside validation tests and example use cases. These data may in the future provide a useful training set for automated identification of spiral arm features. As an illustration, we use the spiral masks in a sample of 825 galaxies to measure the enhancement of star formation spatially linked to spiral arms, which we measure to be a factor of three over the background disc, and how this enhancement increases with radius.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3923-3935
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date10 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Galaxies: structure
  • Surveys
  • Data analysis
  • Galaxies: spiral


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