NASA iPhone, iPad app lets you watch, research meteors

NASA app uploads your observations to the space agency

NASA has released a new smartphone app that lets novices and experts alike track, count and record data about sporadic meteors and meteor showers anywhere in the world.

The NASA Meteor Counter, now available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch,  also provides a newsfeed and event calendar to keep users informed of the latest meteor sightings and lets users capture meteor observations via its "piano key" interface. As users tap the keys, Meteor Counter records critical data for each meteor: time, magnitude, latitude, and longitude, along with optional spoken annotations, NASA stated.  The piano key interface is labeled with astronomical magnitudes. If you see a 1st-magnitude meteor, tap the "+1" key. If you see a fireball of magnitude -2 or less, tap the "-2" key and so on, NASA said.

More space apps: Cool iPhone space-watching apps

Afterward, the app uploads your observations uploaded to NASA researchers for analysis.

Meteor Counter includes  a news feed and event calendar, which are updated by NASA scientists to keep users informed of the latest meteor happenings and upcoming showers, NASA said.

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

A version for other mobile devices will be available in the near future, NASA said.

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