Citizen science: eyes in the skies and on the seas

Australian citizen scientists are helping to catch shooting stars in the vast skies of outback Australia and to track the impact of climate change on species in our warming oceans.

Kevin Wilson recorded a Red Emperor 300 km further south than previously recorded. Credit: Kevin Wilson

Curtin University’s Fireballs in the Sky project invites people to use a smartphone app to record and submit the time, location, trajectory and appearance of meteors they spot.

By triangulating these reports with observations from an array of cameras in remote Western and South Australia, scientists can try to determine where the meteorite may have come from and where it landed.

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Putting off joint replacement

Advanced medical imaging has allowed Tasmanian scientists to trial new therapies for osteoarthritis and to potentially delay the need for joint-replacement surgery.

Photo: Hip replacement surgery may not be needed with Graeme Jones’s new therapy for osteoarthritis. Credit: NIADDK, 9AO4 (Connie Raab-contact); NIH

Graeme Jones and his team from the Menzies Research Institute used dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry to see what was happening to a joint’s internal structure as osteoarthritis developed, allowing them to spot changes long before a conventional X-ray could.

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Academy recognition

Photo: Wouter Schellart’s geodynamics research into the activity of the Earth’s mantle, including the Mt Etna volcano, earned him the AAS Anton Hales medal for Earth Sciences. Credit: NASA

The Australian Academy of Science recognised five individuals for their career achievements in 2013.