Our friend Chris Crawford is running an crowd-sourced program to measure the spatial distribution of Perseids. Anybody with an Android smartphone can participate. You simply download the app. It has all the instructions you need.
Basically, you just watch Perseids, and press the ‘volume up’ button when you see one. The app records the exact time that you saw each Perseid. In the morning, it automatically emails your data to our data-collecting email address, along with the longitude and latitude. If he can get enough people submitting data, Chris will be able to analyze it statistically for spatial patterns. Your help would be much appreciated!
Chris first watched the Perseids in 1964, and every single year since then he has watched, although in some years the skies were so bad that he only saw a couple — but he saw at least one Perseid every single year. Like all beginners, he had the distinct impression that they were non-randomly distributed, and he wondered if he could test for the possibility. While an undergraduate, Chris found enough published papers to dispel his belief that they were non-random. Still, he did a wild and crazy observation while an undergraduate; it included a random-number generator based on a macroscopic ideal gas (this was 1972!)
Then Chris got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to participate in the 1999 Leonid MAC campaign. He build some of the equipment used in the campaign, and much later (2010), he wrote software that analyzed the videotapes of the Leonid activity. His software was closely tuned to the Leonids, and was very sensitive at detecting them. Chris compiled a database of some 26,000 Leonids; for each one he had absolute positions, speeds, heights, and so forth. He did a lot of analysis on the data, which you can find here.
Chris admits to have tried some pretty crazy things, but since he considers himself non- academic, he doesn’t have to worry about publishable stuff; he’s guided by his curiosity only.
Unfortunately, the Perseids are an old stream, and any releases from Comet Swift-Tuttle are so old that any streamers would likely have dispersed by now. Still, Chris would like to give it a whirl.