Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Passed 10,000 submitted observations!

The Loss of the Night app project passed an arbitrary (yet still exciting) milestone at the end of January: The 10,000th observation submitted to the GLOBE at Night server.  The number includes submissions with the test version of the app: we will probably cross 10,000 submissions by people running release 1.0.0 or higher tonight.

I promised to send a holographic postcard to the citizen scientist who submitted the complete observation closest to #10,000, but unfortunately the user is in Japan, and I think my (English) email informing the person that he or she has won a prize and asking for his or her mailing address may have been flagged as spam...  I am still trying to contact the contributor, but for now, let's celebrate observation #10,005, which was the second closest to #10,000.

Data from observation #10005

The observation was made inside of Luxembourg City, and was especially useful because 15 stars were observed instead of the minimum 7. Stars which were seen are marked in black, stars which were invisible are empty red circles, and stars that the user wasn't sure about are blue. The best fit for the naked eye limiting magnitude was 2.55 (solid line), with an estimated range of +/-0.6 over which the observer was likely to have trouble deciding whether the stars were visible or not.

In the next version of the app, we intend to provide instant feedback to you about what the naked eye limiting magnitude is at your site, and how consistent your results were. We will also do a much better job of sampling both sides of the estimated NELM, and we will get rid of most of the pesky stars that are hard to identify (did you hear that Draco?).

Locations where the app has been used.
Above is the most recent plot of all of the places on Earth that people have used the app (up to February 5). The black dots mark the 1208 places where the observations can be used for our analysis (no clouds, no twilight, no moonlight, and at least 7 stars observed), and the red dots show locations where this criteria wasn't met. It's fantastic that so many of you from around the world are contributing to the project, and I hope that we'll continue to increase add new citizen scientists as the year rolls on! Thank you for participation!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Flashmob cancelled

Due to the poor weather forecast for tonight, we won't be holding a Flashmob for Science. The next event will take place in the USA, and I'll post information here when it's available. I hope that we will be able to hold a large event in Berlin this fall.

The 2nd GLOBE at Night period of 2014 has started, so if it's clear where you are tonight, then please go out and let us know how many stars you can see!

I am working on a grant application to improve the app, and because of that I will have very little time for posting in the next month. We have passed 10,000 submitted reports, and I hope that I will find some time to write about the two observations closest to #10,000 in the next weeks.