Citizen Science: A Testament to the Power of Collective Curiosity and Collaboration

Shores & Islands Ohio is joining NASA in their Heliophysics Big Year ­celebration leading up to the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024. In our last blog, we discussed NASA's Heliophysics mission fleet, including its newest member, the Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE).

This month, in tandem with NASA, we're exploring the topic of citizen science! This grassroots approach to scientific research allows ordinary individuals to contribute to various scientific endeavors. One area where citizen scientists can make a significant impact is in the study of our closest star – the sun. 

Join us as we dive deeper into citizen science and showcase how you, too, can actively participate in NASA's sun-related projects.

What is Citizen Science and Why Does It Matter?

Green SunCitizen science involves the active participation of everyday people in scientific research, enabling them to contribute valuable data, observations, and insights. This collaborative model fosters a sense of scientific community and accelerates the pace of discovery. Through citizen science, individuals from diverse backgrounds can engage in authentic scientific research, making significant contributions to various fields.

The importance of citizen science cannot be overstated. With the ever-expanding pool of enthusiasts contributing their time and efforts, scientists can collect data on a scale and scope that would be otherwise impossible. In space exploration, where vastness and complexity often pose challenges, citizen scientists play a pivotal role in gathering information and expanding our understanding.

Getting Involved with NASA's Sun-Related Citizen Science Projects

A notable example of the impact of citizen science is the Solar Stormwatch project. Launched by NASA and the Royal Observatory Greenwich, this initiative encouraged enthusiasts worldwide to analyze solar storm imagery captured by the STEREO spacecraft. By identifying and tracking solar storms, participants have provided valuable insights into solar activity, contributing to a deeper understanding of space weather and its potential impact on Earth.

NASA, at the forefront of space exploration, offers numerous opportunities for citizen scientists to contribute to the study of the sun. By participating in these projects, you become an active part of NASA's research team, helping to unlock the mysteries of our dynamic sun.

Here are a few of NASA's citizen science projects related to the Sun:

The Sungrazer Project
Discover and report previously unknown comets.

Solar Jet Hunter
Join the hunt for solar jets — enigmatic bursts of energy from our own star, the Sun.

Did you see the aurora? Join a worldwide reporting system to help us understand how the Sun affects Earth.

Are you a Ham radio operator? Help us better understand Earth's ionosphere.

Citizen CATE 2024
Help study structures and changes in the Sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, by taking images of the total eclipse in polarized light.

DEB Initiative 
With a small team, capture telescope images of the total eclipse to help document the moment-by-moment appearance of the Sun and its corona.

Eclipse Megamovie
Use a DSLR camera to record dynamics in the solar corona during the total eclipse, or help analyze the images afterward.

Eclipse Soundscapes
How does wildlife respond to a solar eclipse? Record sounds before, during, and after an eclipse to find out!

Use your phone to help measure the exact shape and size of the Sun by photographing an eclipse phenomenon called Baily's Beads.

The Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024

Citizen science opens the doors of discovery to everyone, allowing us to actively contribute to our understanding of the universe. By participating in NASA's sun-related projects, you can be a part of groundbreaking research and prepare yourself for the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024.

This rare event occurs when the moon completely covers the sun, casting a shadow on Earth and turning day into night for a brief but breathtaking moment.

For an unparalleled view of the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse, we encourage you to consider making your way to Shores & Islands Ohio. This picturesque destination promises a front-row seat to the celestial show and a unique experience amidst natural beauty. Whether you're a seasoned astronomer or a casual sky-gazer, the Total Solar Eclipse in Shores & Islands Ohio is an event you won't want to miss!

Check out to learn more about the region and make your plans to visit!

Stacked Solar Eclipse