After months of collaboration with citizen scientists (who are curious members of the public that collaborate with scientists and contribute to the advancement of scientific topic of their choosing), and working together with the sprite researchers and enthusiasts at NASA and Catholic University of America (CUA), Spritacular project has launched! As mentioned in a previous blog post we published what sprites are, this fantastic phenomenon, which looks like glowing root systems ascending up the sky, is the result of electrical discharges high in the Earth’s atmosphere. Despite being a relatively common and mesmerizing occurrence, they remain under the radar compared to other atmospheric phenomena due to their fleeting nature. In fact, the first sprites weren’t confirmed until the ’80s! Today there are people from all over the world looking to dark skies and distant thunderstorms to capture the elusive atmospheric phenomena.
As mentioned on the Spritacular website, “Spritacular is a community science project that aims to collect observations of sprites and other optical phenomena occurring above the thunderstorms – collectively known as Transient Luminous Events (TLEs). The database generated from these observations will lay the groundwork for the first-ever event catalog of TLEs that will greatly contribute to the advancement of scientific studies.”
The citizen science data generated by Spritacular project will be an invaluable resource for the science community. The platform will include educational resources to advance public understanding of this spectacular display of lights above the thunderstorms. I am certainly looking forward to all the questions citizen scientists will ask that I never thought of before. Spritacular will forge a pathway for this collaborative environment.
The newly launched Spritacular website will provide a space for citizen scientists, veteran sprite capturers, and professional scientists to post, view, and study sprites worldwide. The easy-to-use interface and comprehensive vetting process make the site a simple, accurate, and accessible resource for anyone interested in learning more about sprites and other electrical phenomena. The blog and the tutorials will serve as primary educational resources on the website.
To learn more about sprites and join the Spritacular community, be sure to check out https://spritacular.org/Stay tuned to see what new discoveries will be made and studied using the Spritacular platform!