Galaxy Zoo for Android

I just released my Galaxy Zoo android app to the Google Play store. The Zooniverse team have adopted it as their official Galazy Zoo app for Android.

Like the Galaxy Zoo website, it asks you questions about a picture of a galaxy, with each question depending on the previous question. This “Citizen Science” helps astronomers to analyze the huge amount of images of galaxies provided, for instance, by the Hubble Space Telescope. There are several other Zooniverse projects, though most require more thought and have more complicated user interaction.

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I have already released several beta versions to a handful of helpful testers, but now I’m nervous about it being publicly available. I’d rather not be bombarded with one-star reviews if there’s a bug I haven’t caught yet or if people don’t like something about the questions themselves.

There was a previous Galaxy Zoo android app that I think was in use until around 2012, but it stopped working with the latest version of the server and apparently wasn’t updated. It’s no longer available from the Google Play store. This new Galaxy Zoo android app is open source on github, so it should have more future. For instance, that would let other developers investigate problems if there are server changes, even if I don’t (though I would). Patches and pull requests are very welcome. There are even a few minor issues that I’d already like help with.

I’ve been working on this for the past few weeks, using it as a real-world exercise to learn about Android development, trying to do everything properly. I’ve enjoyed diving into something new, and it feels good to have gained the experience. However, Android development ultimately feels just as awkward as every other development environment I’ve ever worked with – no more nor less. I’ll write some follow-up blog entries about the technical parts of the adventure.




4 thoughts on “Galaxy Zoo for Android

  1. Hey there! I just saw this on Twitter. How very cool. I just tried it on my Note3 and ran into a crash. Is there a good place to report bugs?

    1. Thanks. When there’s a crash you should have a chance to report it. Please always use that so I see a stacktrace I can use to investigate. Please also feel free to report an issue here:

      I’ve seen one odd crash report on a Note 2 recently which led me to make several changes to avoid similar issues. If you have version 1.24 then you should have those fixes already. (Scroll to the bottom of the About dialog to check your version number.)

      Some bugs or crashes can be rather intermittent so I’m particularly grateful when someone can explain how to reliably reproduce a problem.

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