With the arrival of the solstice, the nights are at their shortest, but they’re also nice and warm for summer stargazing and space-related citizen science! Put your eyes to good use with these astronomy projects on SciStarter. You won’t need any special knowledge, or even special tools for most of them!
Report night sky streaks from satellites overhead to help scientists track space debris, hunt for distant exoplanets in online images or, if you have a telescope, learn how to share astrophotography with others seeking to learn more about space. Some of the projects featured below will get you outside and enjoying the heavens above, while others let you engage from your phone or computer, but they all help advance scientific research!
NASA’s WISE satellite was built to study the whole sky for interesting objects, including the dusty disks that form planets. Disk Detective is an ongoing project that organizes images from WISE and invites you to view them online to learn how to find the birthplaces of of new planets.
Search beyond Neptune in the edges of our solar system to help hunt down new brown dwarfs and, and maybe even planets. Your mission is search images from the WISE mission to find moving objects. Field guides, forums, and helpful videos will guide you.
This one is for everyone who has access to a telescope (remember that libraries often loan telescopes)!
Learn how to photograph the Moon, planets and star clusters through a telescope using your smartphone. These photographs help scientists estimate light pollution in your area. Then, share your best images with other amateur astrophotographers.
Hunt for solar jets — enigmatic bursts of energy from our Sun!
In order to understand how the Sun forms solar jets, scientists need your help examining Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) data to figure out when and where solar jets occur on the Sun. Watch online movies and assess whether you see a solar plasma jet. If so, you’ll simply note the start and end time of the video clip and use online tools to draw a box around the solar jet!
What is the impact of all those satellites in space?
Satellites provide important imagery and data we rely on to track the health of our planet and study outer space But, as more satellites are placed into orbit, professional and amateur astronomers are growing concerned about their impact. Submit your observations of the streaks satellites leave in images of the night sky so scientists can better track their impact!
Discover more citizen science on the SciStarter calendar. Did you know your SciStarter dashboard helps you track your contributions to projects? Complete your profile to access free tools. Want even more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!
SciStarter connects you to thousands of searchable citizen science projects in need of your help. Use the Project Finder (SciStarter.org/Finder) to find a project to match your location, interests, and age level. Your free SciStarter account will help you earn credit for participating in projects across apps and websites (use the advanced search option at SciStarter.org/Finder to find Affiliate projects eligible for credit in your dashboard). Together, we can move the world forward!