The idea of citizen science isn’t new, but it is having a modern day renaissance. You may have heard this particular phrase – citizen science – for the first time only in the past couple of years, or you may have never heard it before at all! While you may not have heard this trendy meme before, you probably have some citizen scientists in your life. You might have known bird watchers participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count or the Christmas Day Bird Count and reporting their results to the Audubon Society or the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. You might have friends who are amateur astronomers who chase novae or track asteroids and report their data to the American Association of Variable Star Astronomers or the Minor Planet Center. All these people who are acquiring data and sharing what they see are citizen scientists. This is what citizen science is: Everyday people making it possible for questions to be answered through their contributions of work, data, and time.
Dr. Pamela Gay is promoting Citizen Science with her CosmoQuest project. People are helping map features of the moon and other exciting astronomy research.