Feb 23, 2010

You Can Be a Scientific Citizen!

Scientists all over the world are asking for help from the crowd.  They call it "Citizen Science" because anyone can do it.  You don't need any special training and there are even projects kids can join.  Many projects include teacher materials to help create informal science lessons.  Whether it's looking for a supernova or counting fireflies in your backyard, YOU can contribute to scientific understanding.

Citizens Alliance has a really nice explanation about how and why scientists are getting help through crowdsourcing.  You can find their space-related projects in the Zooniverse.   You'll be looking at photographs from space to help find interesting phenomena.

Project Budburst wants your help to document climate change.  You observe and report the phases of trees and flowers that you see.  This is a good time to get started as you watch for signs of Spring!

Be A Martian and help NASA map Mars!  Earn points and badges by counting craters or lining up photographs of the surface of Mars.  The Martian Citizenship you get for participating may come in handy some day!

Science for Citizens has a searchable database of "Science You Can Do!" that sorts through an ever-growing database by age group and location.  In addition to backyard and community projects, there are also terrific opportunities to volunteer with the National Parks system Doing Science!

What projects would you like to join and if you're already participating, what do you like about what you're doing?

Feb 16, 2010

Want to go out and look at some stars?

If you can see the stars from your backyard, you can put a name to them. PBS.org has a terrific interactive star chart. Seeing In The Dark considers your location (and your bedtime) to display what you can see in tonight's sky. Just set your details and print a crib sheet to help you remember.

crib sheet for tonight's sky at my house
In other fun space stuff, follow @twisst on Twitter to get an alert when the International Space Station (ISS) will be passing over your exact location to get some 10-second science!