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Starry, starry font: Write your name with galaxies

Feeling starry-eyed? You can now write in a font fashioned from real galaxies, thanks to an online tool developed by a U.K. academic and a bunch of enthusiastic galaxy hunters.

That's "My name is Leslie and I'm an Aries" written in galaxy font. (Click to enlarge.) Screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Who needs Helvetica when you can write in a font made from real galaxies?

The font comes courtesy of Galaxy Zoo, a citizen science project that enlists volunteers to classify the observable universe's billions of galaxies on the Web for scientific use. In their wanderings, the galaxy watchers spotted a select few galaxies that resemble the ABCs.

"The Zooites started collecting these peculiar galaxies on the Redirect Galaxy Zoo Forum, the most beautifully simple, the most spectacular, the most messy, even those that happen to look like animals and, here we get to the point, letters of the alphabet," said Steven Bamford, a senior research fellow at the University of Nottingham's Centre for Astronomy and Particle Theory in the U.K. who created the unusual font as part of his work with Galaxy Zoo.

CNET in galaxy font
CNET gets the galaxy treatment. (Click to enlarge.) Screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Zoo volunteers have classified more than a million galaxies in the past five years using images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and, more recently, the Hubble Space telescope. The data has been used in numerous research papers, and has now led to My Galaxies, an online tool that lets you write your own messages in star-speak.

The tool appeared earlier this year, but was recently revamped for the launch of the latest Galaxy Zoo project. Thousands of astronomy-minded authors have written their thoughts in the stars so far, according to Bamford, with approximately 6 percent of messages containing the word "love;" 0.09 percent saying "marry me;" and 1.8 percent spouting swear words.

But while quite possibly the most fun and beautiful font ever, Galaxy Garamond (my term) can be bit hard to discern. I'd thus suggest avoiding it when writing a dissertation, even one about black holes or the birth of stars.