What shapes galaxies?

My name is Sandor and I'm a fourth and final year PhD student at the University of Oxford. In order to answer the question above, I ask volunteers to help out and answer questions about galaxy shapes at www.galaxyzoo.org.

Galaxies show a wide range of shapes, colours, sizes and brightnesses. Visual inspection provides tremendous help in recognising features such as bars, bulges, spiral arms, rings etc. I then use clever automated tools to study the distribution of light of these features, which tells us something about their history: how they were formed and how they evolve.

In particular, I am interested in barred galaxies, like NGC1300 in the background. These galaxies show a linear feature (a bar) spanning across the central regions of the galaxy, and are fairly frequent amongst disc galaxies. I am also interested in peculiar galaxies: galaxies with an off-centre bar or nucleus, boxy/peanut shaped bulges, red spirals, blue ellipticals.

During my PhD I lead a study to combine the visual inspection of galaxies using Galaxy Zoo with multi-band decomposition to fit the largest sample of barred galaxies to date, in a study available here. Using these decompositions I have identified a sample of galaxies with a bar that is off-centre from the disc and found that these offsets are frequent in dwarf irregular galaxies.


I am involved in Galaxy Zoo and the, more general, Zooniverse crowdsourcing citizen science project as well as in the largest integral field spectroscopic survey of nearby galaxies, SDSS-IV MaNGA. During my free time, I enjoy working on outreach projects in astronomy and, more generally, on education. I am the founder of the British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad, an astronomy competition for secondary school students in the UK. I am also the co-founder of the Oxford for Romania Summer School, a week-long multi-disciplinary summer school for bright high school students from Romania, coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. I also enjoy building citizen science projects with the new Zooniverse project builder.

See below my list of publications and the projects I'm involved in.


Galaxy Zoo



British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad

Oxford for Romania

About Me

I hail from Transylvania, northern Romania and I moved to the UK 7 years ago to do my studies, first in London, at University College London and then in Oxford, at University of Oxford. Since I came to the UK, I enjoyed working on various volunteering projects, at the University of London Observatory, at Newman House Catholic Chaplaincy and more recently in Merton College, my college in Oxford. I also enjoy travelling around the world and taking photos, like the ones below. Feel free to flick through them below.


  • Address University of Oxford
          Astrophysics Sub-department
          Denys Wilkinson Building, Keble Road
          Oxford OX1 3RH

  • Phone   +44 (0)1865 (2)83011

  • Email   sandor.kruk AT physics.ac.uk

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