Adler Planetarium announces new Chicago's Night Sky exhibit

In a corner of the Adler Planetarium’s new Chicago’s Night Sky exhibit, a display containing two iPads invites guests to “help us learn about constellations across cultures and centuries.” The screens display an app interface, with images from the Adler’s collection of more than 4,000 historical constellation maps. Each image includes depictions of multiple constellations, and the app invites guests to draw boxes around the individual constellations in the images. The interactive, called Mapping Historic Skies, is part of a crowdsourced project powered by, and aims to generate data for a repository of constellations that anyone can use to see how depictions of constellations vary across time and geographic location.  
To ensure the accuracy of results, many visitors segment each image, and the coordinate data that corresponds to the boxes being drawn are aggregated together to determine the consensus result: one box around each constellation on the image. Visitors to can participate in a follow-up activity to identify the constellations. No experience is necessary; if the constellation name is not known, a series of questions help the volunteer to narrow the options and make an educated guess. 
Mapping Historic Skies invites visitors to engage with the Adler’s collections in a curatorial role: to experience firsthand what it means to work with digital resources in a museum setting, and to participate as co-creators of a public data repository. It is a collaboration between the Adler’s Collections department and the in-house Zooniverse Team, based in the department of Citizen Science. For more information, visit