New smartphone app to track meteorites
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Last Updated: Monday, December 02, 2013, 16:07
  
Melbourne: Researchers have developed a new smartphone app that lets space enthusiasts track fireballs and meteors as they enter the Earth's atmosphere.

The app, Fireballs in the Sky, was developed by the Desert Fireball Network, a Curtin University project designed to track meteorites as they fall to Earth, by capturing meteors and fireballs on camera, in collaboration with ThoughtWorks, and Curtin Geoscience Outreach.

Professor Phil Bland, leader of the Desert Fireball Network and planetary scientist from Curtin's Department of Applied Geology said the app can be used by anyone around the world and will build on the data collected so far about meteorites.

"It's free, fun to use, and it has a very easy interface simply point at the sky where you think the fireball started and click on your phone, and do the same for where you think it ended," Bland said.

"If we get enough observations we can determine a trajectory and send that information back to you - for instance, you might get a message that the rock that made your fireball came from the outer asteroid belt, or that it was a chunk of a comet," Bland added.

Capturing fireballs on camera as they streak through the sky allows the team to employ sophisticated mathematical techniques to calculate the orbit and origin of meteorites ? and to calculate where they have landed.

Bland said the app is designed so the team can potentially get data of sufficient quality to create a global crowd source smartphone fireball network.

PTI

First Published: Monday, December 02, 2013, 16:07


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