Fwd: Venus Transit 2004: Be Ready for a Once-In-A-Lifetime Chance!
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Subject: Venus Transit 2004: Be Ready for a Once-In-A-Lifetime Chance!
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 2004 16:38:01 +0200
Tomorrow, on June 8, beginning shortly after 5 hrs UT, a large part of the
world will be sharing a unique sight never seen by any person now living.
During a little more than six hours, planet Venus will cross the face of
the Sun, offering a wonderful show for everybody to admire. Nobody should
miss the opportunity to witness this great event! And - good luck! - it
appears that the observing condition prospects are rather favourable in
large areas of the world.
Nevertheless, should you be as unlucky as astronomer Le Gentil in 1769
who, having traversed a large portion of the globe, enduring all the
perils of a long sea-voyage, and waiting for 8 years for the transit to
occur, was unable to observe it because of a vexatious, black cloud that
covered the Sun, you need not despair. There will be ample opportunity to
witness this event from the VT-2004 Central Display page (and other
This page, powered by Akamai and therefore mirrored on many hundreds of
sites all over the world, will offer selected images from the event,
acquired by our colleagues at the large solar telescopes, from the Canary
Island to China. All images will be chosen and commented live by a team of
professional astronomers in the "VT-2004 Control Room" at the ESO
headquarters (Garching, Germany), who will guide you through the various
phases of this memorable event and provide a running commentary, beginning
before dawn (in Central Europe) on the Day of the Transit and only ending
when Venus is well beyond the solar disc.
At the same time, you will be able to follow the progress of the
absolutely unique VT-2004 Observing Campaign set up by this programme.
More than 1700 groups of observers (school classes, amateur astronomers
and individuals) have already registered and will be providing timings of
the "contacts" of Venus' black circle with the Solar disc. This allows the
VT-2004 computers to reenact live the measurement of the distance from the
Earth to the Sun (the "Astronomical Unit"), as this was done by
astronomers in the past
On the VT-2004 Central Display web site, you will also find what is
without doubt the most exhaustive list of links to other websites where
photos and webcasts of the Venus Transit are expected to appear in
(near-)real-time (weather permitting). Better than all the channels on
your satellite TV!
And during the less dramatic moments, you will be able to browse through
the wonderful photos or the collection of drawings related to the Venus
Transit at the VT-2004 website. In the Photo Archive, you can see many
beautiful images captured by amateurs and professionals of the varying
phases of planet Venus as well as of the Sun. You will discover very rare,
recent images of Venus looking almost like a circle, a sight very
difficult to achieve since it is only visible when Venus is extremely
close to the Sun in the sky. In the Gallery, you will find a wealth of
fine drawings by young people from all over Europe, reflecting their
impressions on how the Venus Transit will look for them.
All in all, the VT-2004 website at http://www.vt-2004.org, is an extremely
comprehensive, very complete source of live information on the Venus
Transit, obtained in a vast collaboration of many people all over the
Earth. If nevertheless, you still do not find some information here, feel
free to ask a question to the organizers by sending an email to
vt-2004@... or by posting it on the VT-2004 Forum.
The full text of VT-2004 Press Communication 06 (June 7, 2004), with one
photo and all weblinks, is available at:
The ESO EPR Dept.