(meteorobs) AMS Mobile App For iPhone & Android

Mike Hankey mike.hankey at gmail.com
Wed Apr 16 09:52:53 EDT 2014

Hello List,

I’m happy to report that the American Meteor Society has just released
a mobile app for iPhone and Android and its now available in both app

The purpose of the app is to enhance the data collected on fireball
reports and provide a logging mechanism for meteor shower observing.

Here’s an article about the App from Discover magazine that was just
published yesterday.

To download the App search the store for “AMS Meteors”.

Here's an abstract about the app that was submitted to the Asteroids,
Comets & Meteors conference.

The American Meteor Society (AMS) founded in 1911 pioneered the visual
study of meteors and has collected data relating to meteor
observations and bright fireballs for over 100 years. In December
2010, the online fireball reporting system was upgraded to an
interactive application that utilizes Google Maps and other
programmatic methods to pinpoint the observer’s location, azimuth and
elevation values with a high degree of precision.  The AMS has
collected 10s of 1000s of witness reports relating to 100s of events
each year since the new application was released. Three dimensional
triangulation methods that average the data collected from witnesses
have been developed that can determine the start and end points of the
meteor with an accuracy of <50km (when compared to published solutions
provided by operators of all sky cameras). RA and DEC radiant
estimates can also be computed for all significant events reported to
the AMS. With the release of the mobile application, the AMS is able
to collect more precise elevation angles than through the web
application. Users can file a new report directly on the phone or
update the values submitted through a web report. After web users
complete their fireball report online, they are prompted to download
the app and update their observation with the more precise data
provided by the sensors in the mobile device. The mobile app also
provides an accurate means for the witness to report the elapsed time
of the fireball. To log this value, the user drags the device across
the sky where they saw the fireball. This process is designed to
require no button click or user interaction to start and stop the time
recording. A count down initiates the process and once the user’s
phone crosses the plane of azimuth for the end point of the fireball
the velocity timer automatically stops. Users are asked to log the
recording three times in an effort to minimize error. The three values
are then averaged into a final score. Once enough witnesses have filed
reports, elapsed time data collected from the mobile phone can be used
to determine the velocity of the fireball. With the velocity,
trajectory solution and RA/DEC the AMS can plot orbital estimates for
significant fireball events reported to the society. Our hope is that
overtime this catalog of events will reveal patterns relating to the
origins of bright fireballs at certain times of year. The AMS also
hopes to be able to associate fireball events reported to the society
with known meteor showers when RA/DEC radiant estimates fall close
enough to those of known showers.  In addition to the enhanced
fireball reporting application, the AMS Mobile App provides a meteor
shower calendar with information, radiant maps and moon conditions for
all upcoming showers. There is also a meteor observing function inside
the app that enables meteor observers to log meteor observations
directly on the phone and have that data uploaded to the AMS online
database and associated with that users observing profile.  To record
observations the user simply points the device at the part of the sky
where they saw the meteor. They then drag their finger across the
screen in the direction the meteor traveled. The user is then prompted
to enter the magnitude of the event and associate the meteor with a
known shower that is active for that date. When the user completes
their session, all of the data for each meteor along with the
information relating to the session is uploaded to the AMS website.
Users can then review the data online in the AMS member’s area. Data
across all users can be aggregated for statistical analysis and ZHR
estimates. Currently the AMS has over 10,000 registered users and
facebook followers. In 2013 over 680,000 people visited the AMS
website and the society received over 18,000 witness reports relating
to 713 confirmed unique fireball events.


Mike Hankey
American Meteor Society

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