WHILE OUTSIDE EXERCISING, TAKE NOTE OF THE SKY AND HELP NASA. Cloud gazers can be part of the GLOBE Observer “What’s Up in Your Sky” initiative to improve satellite weather tracking. The agency is requesting the assistance of anyone, of any age, anywhere in the world through a project that asks people to submit pictures of “clouds, dust, haze, or smoke”. According to an announcement on NASA's EarthObservatory.nasa.gov website, the images will be analyzed and compared with satellite data from space to improve scientists’ ability to differentiate between clouds and aerosols. There’s a limit of 10 observations each day, using tools provided on the GLOBE Observer Mobile app.
The very cool or creepy, depending on your perspectives about government privacy issues, part of this project is that participants can opt to be notified of times when a satellite will be overhead. Taking pictures of the sky from earth at about the time some are being snapped from above increases the probability that your images can be matched with that satellite view data. And that your effort will be officially recognized.
“If your observation is made within 15 minutes (either before or after) the time the satellite will be over your area, you have increased the chances of getting a personalized email from NASA comparing your observations to satellites!”. So says the September 2019 blog post by Marile Colon Robles (team leader at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton VA, USA) on the official GLOBE Program website.
Links to other tools are provided on the website that promise to help participants submit their observations.
A March 2018 EarthSky.org article originally posted by Eleanor Imster in EarthHumanWorld , indicated that NASA researchers very much value the data volunteered by “citizen scientists” because it allows them to validate information gathered from “a suite of six instruments known as the Clouds and the Earth’s radiant Energy System (CERES).”
The article includes a NASA statement about the technical issues involved in CERES instruments positively identifying specific clouds. “For example, it can be difficult to differentiate thin wispy cirrus clouds from snow, since both are cold and bright; even more so when cirrus clouds are above a surface with patchy snow or snow cover.”
But you don’t need to live in a location that experiences snowfall. It would seem that haze, smoke, and dust present similar difficulties.
There’s an opportunity to totally geek out with this challenge. The Robles post (this person is leading the effort) writes that NASA scientists will CONGRATULATE participants submitting the most observations (remember only 10/day are allowed) with a video post on the GLOBE Clouds website!
I downloaded the app but haven’t yet had time to test the system or educate myself further about the process. Or learn about the satellite notifications..
The Clouds Challenge runs from October 15 to November 15, 2019 so there’s no time to lose.
If you spend time outdoors exercising this activity might boost motivation to scan the sky at the same time.
At the very least, you can learn when satellites are passing overhead at your location and know that NASA is watching.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
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Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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