In 2010, the Royal Observatory Greenwich joined forces with scientists from the UK’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and the world’s largest scientific collaboration, Galaxy Zoo. The result was citizen science website, Solar Stormwatch.
Through Solar Stormwatch, anyone who wants to can help scientists analyse data from NASA’s STEREO mission to study the Sun. The number one aim is to spot and track solar storms across space and to create a user-generated space weather forecast on Twitter.
For the Royal Observatory, Solar Stormwatch was a way to re-invent its historic role as a place of cutting edge scientific research – and enable its visitors to ‘pick up the baton’ of solar physics at Greenwich. For Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, enlisting public help meant thousands of pairs of eyes on the job – instead of just a few. It was the only way they could hope to fully interpret over three years of STEREO data.