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New NASA App Available for Meteor Watching!

NASA space environment engineers. Credit: NASA

Attention all you skywatchers!
There’s a brand new NASA handheld device application for mobile devices that gives you the ability to better track, count and record data about sporadic meteors and meteor showers anywhere in the world.

This “Meteor Counter” app enables astronomers — laypersons and experienced meteor hunters alike — to easily capture meteor observations with the software’s innovative, piano-key interface.

It’s everything a meteor hound needs to get informed and get involved!

Here’s the deal: As the user taps the keys, the app records critical data for each meteor, including time and brightness.

Once each observing session ends, that data is automatically uploaded, along with observer information, to NASA researchers for analysis.

Fun and informative

The new app was developed by Bill Cooke, the head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. and Dr. Tony Phillips of space weather.com.

“We developed the iPhone app to be fun, and informative, but also to encourage going outside to observe the sky,” said Cooke. “Our hope is the app will be useful for amateur and professional astronomers – we want to include their observations in NASA’s discoveries — and have them share in the excitement of building a knowledge base about meteor showers.”

A recorded audio track is optional. Users can record commentary as they input data, to be sent to NASA along with numerical information.

Researchers suggest this function will be ideal for identifying shower meteors or one-time events.

Wanted: all kinds of observers

The Meteor Counter is designed for all kinds of observers, ranging from experts with experience in science-grade meteor observations to first-time sky watchers who might never have seen a meteor before.

“The beauty is that it gradually transforms novices into experts,” says Cooke. “As an observer gains experience we weight their data accordingly in our analyses.”

The Meteor Counter app also provides a newsfeed and event calendar — both updated by professional NASA and meteor scientists — to keep users informed of the latest meteor sightings and upcoming showers.

The app is currently available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A version for other mobile devices will be available in the near future.

Download the free app at:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/meteor-counter/id466896415

Complete instructions for using the Meteor Counter app can be found at:

http://meteorcounter.com/

Want more information about NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office? Go to:

http://www.nasa.gov/offices/meo/home/index.html

By Leonard David

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