If you’re planning to watch the Geminid meteor shower (which peaks tonight), consider helping out NASA’s meteor researchers.
NASA’s new Meteor Counter is a free app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that uses citizen scientists to discover new meteor showers, pinpoint comet debris streams and map the distribution of meteoroids around Earth’s orbit.
Every time you see a shooting star streak across the sky, you simply click a key corresponding to how bright you estimate it was. Each keytap records valuable information about time and location of meteors, as well as their magnitude, which later gets uploaded to NASA’s servers.
An optional voice recorder allows you to add annotations of each event. Experts can add a specific origin and trajectory of the shooting star while novices might settle for a simple “Cool!”
Image: Jimmy Westlake/NASA