Citizen Explorer Projects

These are short exploration projects that nurture your own journey of discovery. Developed by the STEAM Innovation Laboratory, they are available through the Anecdata app, which you can download from your app store.

Go to your app store and install 'Anecdata'. After you register as a participant, you can scroll through over 300 projects and 'join' projects looking for participants. The ones developed by the STEAM Lab are listed and described below. Over 1,600 participants have collected 10,000 measurements using their smartphones to detect sound, light, magnetic fields and to take pictures of satellites streaking across the sky and odd forms of life on earth!

  • Silent Earth - Can you find the quietest places in your environmant or your travels?
  • Earth Rotation Detector - Join hundreds of observers world-wide who are trying to detect earth's rotation by changes in local gravity!
  • Satellite Streak Watcher - Thousands of Starlink satellites streak acrross the sky every evening and morning. Help us capture these events andd show how the sky is getting more cluttered every year.
  • Firefly Spotters - Can you spot any fireflies where you live? How do their numbers change as the summer progresses?
  • Night Sky Light Pollution - Photograph the sky at night and help us create a new method of measuring light pollution.
  • Standing Waters Mapper - Are there ponds or bodies of fresh water near you that come and go during the year?
  • Smartphone Astrophotography - With a tripod and a telescope, your smartphone can photograph many astronomical objects.
  • Extreme Life Hunter - The best place to appreciate how inventive life is is to find examples on earth of living things surviving in extreme environments!

Things discovered so far!

Silent Earth A region north of Washington DC where sound levels in the very quiet range from 30-40 dB were recorded. Quietest areas are predictably far from major highways and urban centers.

Firefly Spotters Increase in firefly sightings in Kensington, Maryland during the twilight and early evening hours. Maximum counts occurred around late-June (DOY 180).

Earth Rotation Detector Surface acceleration is highest at high latitudes and follows the theoretical (red) curve that includes the centrifugal effect of earth's rotation.

Satellite Streak Watcher Streaks by Starlink satellites interfered with an astronomical photograph of the rare Comet NEOWISE in July, 2020.

Extreme Life Hunter Example of mold growing in the hostile chemical environment of a laundry basin where detergents and fabric softeners mix.

Standing Water Mapper Example of a large freshwater pond that seasonally fills and drys up in the arid southwest United States.