"Twitter for the Universe: A new way to follow the stars."
SkyWatch allows astronomers to subscribe to real-time event notifications, enabling them to conduct immediate observations after celestial events.
During the 2014 NASA International Space Apps Challenge, the team built a prototypical application geared for use by the general public. The application tapped into NASA’s Gamma-ray Coordinates Network and presented the user with a real-time feed of everything the network was capturing in the Universe.
They called it Twitter for the Universe: A new way to follow the stars. SkyWatch was the 2014 Global Winner for Best Use of Data.
The team decided to continue to work on their award-winning application. However, in trying to connect new data sources into SkyWatch, they realized there was a fundamental problem in the field. Data sources (mostly outside of NASA) seemed to be siloed; difficult to access; incompatible; and downright ugly.
They understood that it was an ambitious and lofty goal. Nonetheless, if they made a long-term game plan, and worked away slowly and carefully at each problem, there would be an opportunity to at least make a dent. Currently, they are working on tools for time-domain astronomy, the field in which astronomy is studied in real-time and on time scales.
SkyWatch currently access NASA data through the Gamma-ray Coordinates Network. They plan to incorporate more data sources into the product this fall. SkyWatch has been in private beta testing since May 2015.
You can learn more the team and their progress here: http://skywatch.co/index