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Steven van Roode

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Everything posted by Steven van Roode

  1. The phone app for the Transit of venus (June 5/6) has now been released. You can download the app from the App Store Features: - map with times of contact for your location - simulation of the transit for practising timing of the contacts - GPS clock that will help you on the day of the transit to find the times of contact accurately The app makes it easy to join the international project to measure the sun's disatnce with the transit of Venus.
  2. Thanks for this. It seems that our initiatives are nearly identical. I invite you to submit your data to our project as well. Our Eros Parallax Project runs from January 28 to February 3. Each night at 7, 18 or 23 UT you take a picture of Eros. Then you process the picture with free and online software, and subsequently submit the obtained data through a form on the website. There's also the possibility to send in your pictures, as to create a depository of all pictures taken across the world. Submitted data (location, date and time, RA and Decl of Eros) will be available to everyone. Detailed instructions and the submission form can be found at Eros and the solar parallax | Venustransit I'm looking forward to your contribution!
  3. Detailed instructions are now online! For links to the announcement of the project and the instructions, see this thread of the Astronomy Activity group: Yahoo! Groups
  4. Michael Zeiler made some images of the earth as viewed from Eros for me. These helped to find some good times at which Eros is to be photographed on January 31 (or January 30, or February 1): The night side of earth is, for clarity, made light, while the day-side of earth is darker. At 7:00 UT North and South America will provide a long north-south baseline. At 18:00 UT Asia and Australia will both see Eros (though low in the sky). At 23:00 observations from Europe, India and Africa can be made.
  5. Right, we need several times to accommodate for gaps in clouds, etc. But we also should be aware of observers at other places on earth. If we are to create a long baseline, other observers should be far away (like India, where a considerable group of individuals has already showed interest in taking part in the observations, or the USA). In order for all these observers to be able to see and photograph Eros simultaneously, some convenient times should be chosen. I should look into this with a planetarium programme, but I guess it would be around 0 UT.
  6. I made a finder chart for Jan 30 (12 UT) until Feb 1 (12 UT), more or less centred around the moment of perigee. This most likely will be the period for coordinated imaging of Eros to determine the parallax. The map data is from TriAtlas, the positions of Eros are computed using JPL online Horizon tool (both J2000.0). Is this looking any good? Suggestions for improvement are very welcome!
  7. I still have to work out the details, but I think basic photographic abilities should be sufficient to participate in the project. The aim is to photograph Eros simultaneously from different locations, with some clear reference stars within the field of view. It shouldn't be too difficult to find out up to which magnitude stars have to be captured to get a good set of reference stars on the photographs.
  8. Only yesterday I realised that the next opposition of asteroid 433 Eros in late January 2012 will be a close one. For the first time since 1975 the asteroid will get as bright as magnitude +8, making it visible in small telescopes. Such a close encounter did remind me of the 1901 and 1931 apparitions, which were then used to measure the parallax of Eros, and ultimately that of the sun. The value of the solar parallax obtained during the 1931 opposition (8".790) was held to be definitive until 1968, when radar measurements took over! So, there's this exciting opportunity next year to measure the sun's distance twice using two classic and historically important methods: the transit of Venus on June 5-6 and the opposition of Eros on January 31. This also lets us compare the accuracy of both methods. By taking simultaneous pictures of the asteroid from different places on earth during the last days of January, its parallactic displacement can be measured. If you would like to join this project and perform this unique experiment together with others, please drop me a message. I know it's on short notice, but it's not too late to get things organised!
  9. Finally, Venus is returning to the evening sky. Did you already see it? We invite you to submit your pictures of your first sight of Venus in the low west. There's already a photograph by Deepak Joshee from Poona, India, showing a fairly brilliant Venus standing out in the reddish hue of dusk. You may PM me for details on how to report your sightings.
  10. Filmmaker Maarten Roos just released a wonderful 6-minute teaser for the documentary film "Our Last Transit of Venus". Watch the teaser at Maarten will follow with his camera three groups while they prepare for the 2012 transit of Venus. One of these groups are the participants of the experimental archaeology project, led by Randall Rosenfeld. They will observe the transit with 18th and 19th century telescopes. Another group that will be followed are the thousands of amateurs and students all over the world that will use a free phone app to time the exact moments of contact, thus determining the distance to the Sun. This is you! Make sure to watch the teaser! Steven van Roode
  11. Thank you for this suggestion. I just dropped Carol a message.
  12. For the website I'm looking for an author who would like to (voluntarily) write an article about sketching the 2012 transit of Venus. Making a sketch gives a very personal result, but is still quite difficult because the phenomena develop rather quickly and there isn't much time to get what you see through the eyepiece on paper. If you think you're up for the job, please leave me a note!
  13. The Hubble Telescope will observe the 2012 transit of Venus. The observing technique is very special, because it's impossible to aim this telescope directly at the sun. PM me for the full story.
  14. Really great composite image! I posted the picture on the Transit of Venus Project's blog: I hope you will be able to capture the last quarter of Venus' orbit from October to March.
  15. Just to let you know - the interactive page of the Transit of Venus Project's website, where you can compute the local times of contact for any of the 1639-2125 transits of Venus, has been updated and looks really cool now:
  16. Mark, this is great! Thanks for pursuing. Looking forward to it.
  17. Mark, do you still have this video? I would love to show it on the Transit of Venus Project's website! Steven
  18. It's just little less than a year towards the next transit of Venus on June 5/6, 2012. It's our very last chance to see a transit of Venus - the next one will be in 2117! If you're already looking for your local transit times, background information or exciting projects to participate in, there's now a new international website: Here, you'll find everything you need to know for your preparations.
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