Shanun Palus in Smithsonian magazine has an interesting article, Astronomers Are Doing Real Science With Space Photos They Found on Flickr. I’m not saying it is applicable. I’m sure it is not. But it demonstrates the idea that there may be new ways to study images that we have not thought of:
To get detailed images of deep space, astronomers have a couple of options, says Technology Review. They can either use a long exposure to capture one really detailed image, or stack multiple less-detailed images together. Lang and colleagues opted for the second approach. But rather than using multiple photos taken with the same telescope, they looked to the web.
The team used a new alogorithm to stack nearly 300* images of the Galaxy NGC 5907 that they found on Flickr, Bing, and Google. They did this by "[l]iterally searching for ‘NGC 5907’ and ‘NGC5907’," explains Astrobites.
Picture from Smithsonian: An amateur photograph of galaxy NGC 5907 by Flickr user korborh. On its own it doesn’t look like much, but combined with hundreds more it can reveal new secrets about the universe. (korborh)