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Transit of Venus 2004 - www.venustransit.ie

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19 years 10 months ago #2495 by albertw
Hi,

After listening to Robert Hill give a very entunsiastic presentation about the transit of venus I think I should post some more details about the program that the ESO are promoting.

Firstly as I'm sure most of you know, at 6.20 am on June 8th, Venus will pass in front of the Sun, the first time it has done so in 122 years.

If people are just made aware of this, they might go as far as getting some eclipse shades and having a look to see what all the fuss is about. And what will they see? A little black speckmoving very very slowly across the sun - another boring astronomy event. So rather than just hype the event as some people seem to do in the media here, the ESO have put together an outreach program aimed at all levels, there should be something for everyone, and everyone is invited to participate.

The ESO website for the transit is www.vt-2004.org . The Irish node is being organised by the Astronomical Sciences group of Ireland ( www.arm.ac.uk/asgi/ ) who will be launching their own website for the event in the next couple of days - ww.venustransit.ie .

Schools will be able to get in contact with the Irish Organisers, Robert Hill in Armagh Planetarium is the main contact, and they will provide details and ideas on how to observe the even, and how to bring the event into the curriculum.

So what kinds of thing are the ESO doing?

* Image gallery - Not only for images of the event, but also for images of the schools preparation, and images and interpretations by the kids themselves. The ESO website has a picture from a 3 1/2 year old so there are no excuses. The ESO competition is aimed mainly at younger children, but this can be taken as seriously as you want, inspiration for part of youe leving cert portfollio?

* Video Gallery - This will not just be an video of a black dot projected onto some cardboard! One approach that students might like to take would be to make a documentay for their media studies course on the history of the event, and their preparations, and their conclusions afterwards.

* Science - A major goal of the observation side will be to determine the AU. Again this can be a simple or as complicated as you like. At the simplest level you can send your location and times of the major events to the ESO and they will do the calculations. For the applied maths students they can work out the calculus for themselves!

* History - Although the history of the event is covered there are no events tied to the idea published on the website. But there is scope to get the history teacher involved (assuming he is not outside with an LX90!). Transits have been predicted since 1631, and since then there have been a couple every century, this could easily be built into a class on the development of scientific thought through this time for example. Also if the drama teacher is left out there is plenty of scope to do a short play on the observations down the centuries - any excuse to get into costume!

For more ideas and details see the ESO page.

However there are problems that need to be worked through. Firstly the message has to get out to teachers and schools, which is something the ASGI will work on. But even then teachers who are not familiar with astronomy may find this too `intimidating` a project to take on. And thats where the amateur astronomers come in.

The transit is more than a one day event, its something that can be built up to with the science, art and history of the event. By contacting your local school and offering to help out you will be of valuable assistance to the teachers involved. There is a lot of information to digest about the transit, and its a lot for teachers to plan on their own, but with the help of a local expert (relativly speaking!) they will have someone to put their questions to, someone to help out explaining it to the kids and at worst someone to blame if it all doesnt go flawlessly! Even though some of us dont trust the Irish weather and are going to sunnier places to see the transit, we can still get involved with schools in preparation for the event - so no excuses :-)

Societies are also asked to register their events with the ESO and ASGI so that a web page can be made up of all the events that will be taking place so that members of the public can go along to watch. I expect this list will be made available to the meia also. Astronomy Ireland is bound to have several of its `members` organising events, so that alone should be enough encouragment for many of you to outdo them :-)

There are probably someof you reading this who dont have the means to observe the Sun. And this is a problem for schools also, so Robert is trying to get each shool sponsored to have a solarscope ( www.solarscope.org ). This is a few peices of cardboard with a mirror so that the image of the sun gets projected onto a piece of card that people can gather around and watch. They cost EUR80, so if your school/club is interested in buying one, or you would like to sponsor one for your school then get in touch with Robert.

There are however two problems. Firstly many schools are on holidays or having exams at this time. So the work needs to be done now to get people interested enough to open the school and come in on the day for the event.

Secondly, we need clear skies, and its Ireland so there is a reasonable chance there wont be. But the ESO folks have thought of that too. Even if its cloudy the ESO site will have webcams set up around the world so that you can log in and watch the event happening in sunnier places!

So to start each club should go to the ESO transit site for Ireland vt-2004.org/vt-net/vt-net-ireland.html and register. So far Galway Astronomy Club are the onlyones to do so! And then contact your local schools, or your kids scools, or the local church or where ever! and start helping to plan for the transit.

Cheers,
~Al

p.s. Can we keep this thread ( www.irishastronomy.org/boards/viewtopic.php?t=665 ) for discussing events and plans etc. and use other threads for observations calculations etc. - Cheers, ~Al (solar system mod. - I will move your posts!)

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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19 years 10 months ago #2500 by albertw
From Galway Astronomy Club on another thread:

The next Galway Astronomy Club meeting takes place on Monday April 26th. For this we welcome back Professor Mike Redfern of NUI Galway who gave a very interesting talk on the subject of "Black Holes"at our Connacht Starparty last January. At this meeting he will talk about the up-coming June 8th Transit of Venus. Meeting venue is the Forster Court Hotel in Galway City Centre @8pm . New members always welcome.

For further details phone Martin Quirke at 091528347

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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19 years 10 months ago #2651 by albertw
Hi folks,

46 days to go!

Any more events that people would like to tell the world about?

http://www.vt-2004.org./vt-net/vt-net-ireland.html is looking fairly sparce.

Cheers,
~Al

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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19 years 9 months ago #2700 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic VT update
Hi folks,

Some more new info about the vt-2004 plans are available at www.vt-2004.org/Media/vt-comm-02.html

There is a photo gallery which some of you may like to upload your pictures to at
www.vt-2004.org/photos/

The gallery ( www.vt-2004.org/Gallery/ ) is now open to all ages, so even if you cant get a photo of venus you can submit artwork here. There will be 25 T-shrits as prizes for the best exhibits.

Of particular interest to any of you talking to schools, giving talks etc will be the animations page www.vt-2004.org/animations/index.html , which has some quicktime movies explaining the transit.

Finally as your organise events with your clubs/schools please post details here and with the www.vt-2004.org site.

39 days to go!

Cheers,
~Al

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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19 years 9 months ago #2712 by albertw
Dear All,

The Teachers' Guide is now available at www.vt-2004.org/Education/vt-tg.doc .
Please spread the word!

Cheers,

Ian

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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19 years 9 months ago #2721 by albertw
Hi,

Me again!

I kow that some of you are planning transit watches for June 8th. So can you please post details of these, even if they are still sketchy?

The Irish Steering Committee of the vt-2004 project will soon be publicising the event, and it would be great to be able to help publicise events from IFAS clubs.

Cheers,
~Al

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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