Citizen scientists help find rare black holes

For immediate release ‐ January 15, 2021

Contact: Jon Pishney, 919.707.8083. Images available upon request

Patrick Treuthardt, Assistant Head of the Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab, collaborated with a group ( to produce a short documentary video about his citizen science project, Spiral Graph. The goal of Spiral Graph is to measure the winding of spiral arms in galaxies, a parameter known as spiral arm pitch angle. Pitch angle has been linked to other parameters that are more time consuming and difficult to measure, such as the black hole mass in a galaxy’s nucleus.

Rare, intermediate-mass black holes such as the ones this project seeks to discover could tell us a great deal about black hole evolution.

More about how the project works:

Spiral Graph, and how to get involved:

Back to the News