The Transit of Venus program features a combined DVD and data CD set,
an audio CD, a slide set of 200+ images, and supporting web pages. The
DVD can be used as a stand-alone show or as part of a planetarium
package. The data CD contains 200+ images, mpeg-1 movie clips, and
supporting documents. See http://analyzer.depaul.edu/paperplate/transit.htm
for more information, including thumbnails of all images and an ordering form.
Don't miss this extensive collection of Sun-Earth Day resources from the fun folks at
the Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum.
Post-transit survey seeks information to help NASA serve your needs
better in the future. Respondents to the survey receive free Sun-Earth
Fact and Fiction-Students compare two science fiction stories and a
scientific appraisal about what might happen when the next magnetic
reversal happens. They critically evaluate fictional claims to identify
Students use tabulated data to create a graph of Earth's magnetic
intensity. They forecast when, or if, our current field will actually fall
to zero-strength in the future.
- Timing the
Transit of Venus
Students perform basic time calculation exercises based on actual historic
transit timing data. Topics covered include elapsed time, time differences
and time conversion.
- When Do
Transits of Venus Happen?
Students complete a table of values and predict the dates for a
transit of Venus visible from the Earth based on rates and
Use the resources on the Timeline to discover the story of why the
transit of Venus was an important astronomical event.
AU to Kilometers http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/sunearthday/2004/2004images/VT_Activity3.pdf
the critical measurements of the Transit of Venus in the late 1800s,
distances in the solar system were expressed in Astronomical Units (AU).
But nobody knew what an AU equaled in miles or kilometers.
The AU was simply the distance from Earth to the Sun.
So astronomers needed to calculate the AU in kilometers!
To do this calculation fo
r yourself follow the
Planet Transits http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/sunearthday/2004/2004images/HabitablePlanets.pdf
model NASA's Kepler mission observations of planetary transits (a planet
moving in front of a star) by standing in a circle with model star (light
bulb) in the center, and observing, through rolled up paper viewing tubes,
a marble planet orbiting the star.
activity encourages a discussion about what makes a planet habitable.
Students learn that for a planet to support life like we find on Earth, it
must have: (a) the right temperature range for there to be liquid
water, and (b) the right size range to be able to have suitable
- Finding the Distance to the Sun http://image.gsfc.nasa.gov/poetry/venus/Vdistance.html
The students will apply the concepts of
vertical angles and ratios to calculate lengths and angles.
Can they determine the distance to the Sun?
The Sun-Earth Connection solicits feedback on NASA's services provided for the
2004 transit of Venus.
The European Southern Observatory is leading an extensive program that is
loaded with information, and its website is continuously growing. This is
a thorough website for transit of Venus observers, educators, and
Introduction to Transit of Venus at Paper Plate Education.
Planned exhibit (March 24, 2004-April 3, 2005) at Smithsonian Institution Libraries
entitled Chasing Venus:
Observing the Transits of Venus, 1631-2004 will tell the story
of the transits of Venus using the marvelous illustrations in the rich
collection of rare books from the Smithsonian Libraries, supplemented by
appropriate artifacts from the National Museum of American History and the
United States Naval Observatory. The full exhibition will be available on this
site in March 2004." Curated by Ronald S. Brashear,
Head of Special Collections.
Chasing Venus Teacher Resources from Smithsonian Institution Libraries
includes "exercises and lesson plans designed to accompany and
enrich the study and discussion of the June 2004 Transit of Venus."
Eighteen activities engage grades K-12 in multiple subject areas:
Views of the Universe (K-6; Science and Geography)
Students build two views (Aristotle's and Copernicus') of the universe and
describe the differences.
of Geometric Shapes (K-5; Mathematics, Art)
Students identify different geometric shapes and use the differences in the
building of collages.
Games (K-5; Science, Measurement) Students discover how light source,
object, and distance affect the shadow's shape.
Outlines (4-6; Science, Measurement, Art) Students
document how light source, object, and distance affect the shadow's shape by
(4-6; Science, Measurement) Students simulate the documentation of the
Transit using paper plates and marking the path of the transit.
Stories from the Transit of Venus (6-12; Science,
Creative Writing, History, Geography) Students write and role play stories
based on the Transit of Venus expeditions.
and Using Data on the Common Events (4-12; Science, Mathematics)
Students create data tables, collect the data and observe patterns.
Longitude and Latitude (4-6; Science, Measurement,
Geography) Students use longitude and latitude to determine locations of
expedition sites and viewing sites for the 2004 Transit.
(4-6; Science, Astronomy) Students build telescopes from cardboard tubes
that can be used to safely watch the Transit.
Enrichment (7-9; English, Spelling) Students learn
the meaning and spelling of various terms associated with the Transit and
use the terms in sentences.
Means, Medians and Modes (4-9; Mathematics,
Statistics) Students calculate means, medians and modes for a series of
observations and report conclusions.
Triangulation (6-12; Mathematics, measurement)
Students use triangulation techniques to determine measurements.
Conversion (3-8; Measurement) Students identify
common and uncommon measurements and build conversion tables.
Diaries (7-9; History, Creative writing) Students
choose an expedition to research, form expedition teams, keep individual
diaries and compare diaries at the end of simulated expedition.
the Shoulders of Giants (10-12; Science, history)
Students research the important astronomers and scientists and make
presentations on their achievements.
the Transits in Context (10-12; Science, history) Students research the
important events that were taking place during the major expeditions and
make presentations on how they may have influenced the expeditionary teams.
Transit in Pictures (10-12; Science, art and media) Students write
screenplay and produce movie or animation of a transit including narration.
now a word from our sponsor... (10-12; Science, art and media)
Students write and produce public service commercials promoting the Transit
of Venus and providing information about its safe viewing.
The National Museum of American History features a Chasing Venus lecture
Hands-on activity to record 2004 transit of Venus on a paper plate akin to the
first record of Jeremiah Horrocks in 1639.
Hands-on activity that illustrates and explains the irregular frequency of
transits of Venus.
NASA Connect offers lessons and exercises on scaling the solar system.
Measure the distance to the sun by knowing only your location (lat/long) and the
time(s) of internal contact. That is, "compute the mean equatorial
solar parallax online from your own and others’ observations of the 2004
transit of Venus, employing either Halley’s or Delisle’s method."
This is the easiest method for casual observers to quantify the distance to the
sun from their own data.
"Live Webcast: The Transit of Venus! Tuesday, June 8,
2004. Travel [to Greece] for a clear and unobstructed view of this amazing and rare
event. Explore the role of past transits in the history of astronomy and
how the Venus Transit was used to calculate the distance from the Earth to the
Sun, called the Astronomical Unit. The program will present cutting edge
research on Sun-Venus and Sun-Earth interactions, and how NASA plans to use
similar transits to detect extrasolar planets." Four telescopes with
white light and H-alpha filters will capture the transit as narrators guide
viewers through the event. [Exploratorium webcast info was formerly at http://www.exploratorium.edu/webcasts/.]
Live Broadcast / Webcast: Venus and the Search for Habitable Planets;
originally broadcast March 19, 2004, to be archived and rebroadcast. This interactive discussion will focus on
what the Venus Transit can teach us about the search for planets beyond our
solar system (more than 100 have been discovered so far).
A live webcast from several sites in Norway will include images with H-alpha
filters. The webcast will start before first contact, probably just before
05 UTC, and will last until about half an hour after last contact (around 12 am
Web-based activity features Squeak...
The transit of Venus is for kids, too! Enjoy these simple yet
fun activities for younger audiences.
Measure the universe with a string and a stone. A series of activities
allow students to measure the distance to the sun simply, with the lone
assumption that Venus is the size of the Earth; from Vivek Monteiro.
Venus Hemispherical Globes; several mosaics in a projection portray the
entire surface of Venus (and other celestial bodies) that fold into a 12-inch
globe; from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Stanford Solar Center offers "exciting activities, images, interactive
tools, text, and other resources to let you research our special star -- the
"How to measure the Earth-Sun distance by studying the transit of Venus;"
from the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE).
Compute the mean equatorial solar parallax online from your own and others'
observations of the 2004 transit of Venus, employing Halley's method; courtesy
of Steven M. van Roode.
Flyer7- Transit of Venus
One-page flyer (similar to the thumbnail image) lists transit of Venus Q&A, shows duration of transit across
North America , recalls global expeditions, illustrates black drop effect,
shows sample hands-on activity relating to transit; shows "eclipse
shades" in use; and links to transitofvenus.org
The flyer is biased toward U.S. observers, but the Microsoft Publisher file is
editable so you can tailor the flyer to your locale (high resolution 2.2 Mb,
MSPublisher). Also available as a MSWord document (flyer7.doc).
Overview of techniques for viewing the transit of Venus safely; describes use of
#14 shade welding glass, telescopes with solar
filters, and magnified projections. The SAFETY!
page is recommended for all transit of Venus observers.
Mike Weinstein provides an MSPowerPoint presentation on the transit of Venus,
with a particular slant for Chicago observers. Presentation includes
helpful animations and cites all references for images.
Teacher activities address the circumference of earth, parallax, distance to
the sun, and Kepler's Laws. Site also lists historic background,
visibility times, current research, and more. The organizers in
Norway seek other observers for global project.
A global observing program in which participants contribute data to determine
the distance from the sun to earth; from the European Southern Observatory (ESO)
and the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE).
"To calculate the astronomical unit, two distant people are needed.
These people can exchange their data coming from their observations. Register
and contact other passionate people to work together."
Flying With Pride is establishing dissemination points across Africa for
resources related to the transit of Venus; is coordinating direct observing
sites; is planning remote web and television broadcasts; and is planning a
Cape-to-Cairo initiative in which observers along the 28th degree of longitude
in Africa contribute data to determine the distance from the sun to earth.
"Observing, Photographing and Evaluating the Transit of Venus," a
global observing program in which participants contribute data to determine the
distance from the sun to earth.
ProjectVenus 2004 is "an observational project of amateur astronomers to
determine the scale of the solar system with the aid of the Venus transit in
2004. Groups investigate the historical calculations and observations, set up
new procedures, prepare the observation and carry out the evaluation."
Observers in Switzerland seek observers in South Africa for international
Science Group of India suggests it will broadcast on the Internet live images of
transit of Venus on 2004 June 8. Site also lists planetary data for that
The Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi, India, has "started a discussion
group to plan for exchanges of information and observations of the upcoming
Transit of Venus. The group has been formed to make it possible to have an
easy way of having exchanges with students from all over India and also interact
with observers from all over the world."
Vamana Project is a 3-phase activity in which students in India measure the
radius of the earth using a gnomon; determine the maximum angular separation
between the Sun and Venus; and determine the path that Venus takes across the
solar disc on June 8th.
"The Royal Society of New Zealand...will send a party of nine students and
three teachers to observe the 2004 transit of Venus. To win places on the
expedition to Britain, teams...will be asked to produce a video and supporting
material which may be viewed on the web."
To simulate the "black drop" effect, almost pinch your thumb and
forefinger together against a bright background. Near contact the meniscus
between them appears.
Space Weather. Current solar weather with "science news and information about the
User- adjustable Applets about the transit of Venus; by Jürgen Giesen;
(available in English and German)..
Planet Quest offers much material about the search for extra-solar
planets. Click "Four Ways to Find a Planet" on the scrolling
filmstrip to view a narrated animation that shows planet detection methods,
including the use of transits.
With this simulation you try to detect exoplanets using observations of
transits. After you select a star from a simulated field of view, the
simulation develops photometric graphs and other data, from which you calculate
the orbital information.
NASA Sun-Earth Connection
A collection of educational materials relating to the sun, its effects, and the Genesis
mission. The Genesis spacecraft, sent "a million miles sunward
to collect pieces of the sun, called solar wind, ... unfolded its collectors and
began a two-year 'sunbath.' Upon its return to Earth in 2004, scientists
will study the solar wind samples."
Media Viewer launches you to Sun-Earth illustrations, live solar and aurora
images, and scientist interviews.
"Meet the Neighbors: Planets Around Nearby Stars" is an AstroCappella
lesson plan to accompany their song "Dance of the
Planets." High school students investigate the dimming caused by a
transit; determine a planet's radius and orbital distance from transit data; and
compare results of the extrasolar planetary system with our solar system; ( PDF file).
Lesson plan describes how to measure the Astronomical Unit using the Voyager
II software; (PDF file).
Lesson plan on Solar Music- Helioseismology encourages students to
listen to the Sun's heartbeat to learn about the inside of the Sun.
The Singing Sun is a recording of acoustical pressure waves in the Sun made by
carefully tracking movements on the Sun's surface with the SOHO
A Toyota TAPESTRY grant has created a clearinghouse for transit of Venus resources.
A DVD, data CD, audio CD, and slide set are available at cost for multiple users, including teachers,
planetarians, librarians, and other
Animation demonstrates parallax of stars with extended thumb example; from Dave
Underwood at University of Colorado.
National Maritime Museum seminar entitled "Venus Observed: the Transit of
Venus in History" will examine the historical and scientific significance
of the transit of Venus and ask how it has contributed to our understanding of
science since it was first observed in 1631.
Parallax analogy. [No accompanying text.]
Parallax analogy. [No accompanying text.]
Parallax demo in planetarium. [No accompanying text.]
At the 2002 Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) Annual Conference in
Menasha, Wisconsin, Chuck Bueter displayed a poster
about transits of Venus. The poster's text
will appear in the 2002 GLPA Proceedings. References and other
images on the 2002 GLPA poster were used with permission of Fred Espenak,
Richard Pogge, and Greg
The "Activities" page at Paper Plate Education contains dozens
of hands-on activities that complement transit of Venus lesson plans.
A brief introduction to the transit of Venus,
illustrated and written by a six year old student.
In the current epoch, transits of Venus generally occur in pairs--eight years
apart--that are separated by over a century. Astronomy author and
illustrator Jay Ryan
described the circumstances
that create periodic transits, reprinted here with his permission.
Heavens-Above, for so many reasons.
PowerPoint presentation shows simulated transit sequence from perspective of
South East Queensland, Australia; from Peter Anderson.
"The Transit of Venus" by David Murray; from December 8, 1874, Scribner's.
"Astronomy, The Transit of Venus" by Gillet and Rolfe, 1882.
Book: The Transit of Venus: The Quest to Find the True Distance of the
Sun, by David Sellers; ISBN: 0954101308. Excerpts are available online
Cover art for the 2004 Astronomical
Calendar depicts James Cook observing the transit of Venus.
Author/artist Guy Ottewell openly notes
artistic license in the inside cover. Pages 46-48 address the transit of
Book: June 8, 2004--Venus in Transit, by Eli Maor; ISBN: 0-691-04874-6.
Book: Transit, When Planets Cross the Sun, by Patrick Moore; ISBN:
Book: How to Observe the Sun Safely by Lee Macdonald; published by Sky &
Book: Observe and Understand the Sun, edited by Richard E. Hill;
published by the Astronomical League.
Book: Venus in Transit: Australia's Women Travellers 1788-1930 by
Douglas R. Sellick.
Book: The Transits of Venus; by William Sheehan and
John Edward Westfall. ISBN: 1-59102-175-8.
Book: Hokuloa: The British 1874 Transit of Venus Expedition to Hawai'I,
by Michael Chauvin; ISBN: 1581780230.
Book: The Transit of Venus, How a Rare Astronomical Alignment Changed the
World, a compilation by scientists and historians, adapted from Royal
Society lecture series. ISBN: 978-0-9582629-7-2.
Sky & Telescope magazine features the transit of Venus in a series of
articles in the February, April, and June 2004 issues.
Science News magazine (Vol. 165, No. 16, 17 April 2004) features the
transit of Venus; submitted by Wolfgang Porod.
Scientific American magazine (May 2004) features the transit of Venus in
an article by Steven J. Dick.
Physics Education (Volume 39, Number 3, May 2004) has several articles
about the transit of Venus, including a teacher's guide by Robin Catchpole,
senior astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich and a paper plate
explanation of the frequency of transits. All papers published in the
journal are made freely available for 30 days from the date of online
publication. See This
Month's Papers. [April 28, 2004]
Poster abstract at American Astronomical Society's DPS 34th Meeting, October
2002, anticipates "...plans for an international education program centered
around the June 8, 2004 Venus transit."
Paper abstract from AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002 by K.E. Kissel
and R.M. Genet intends to "stimulate action to prepare for likely
extra-solar transit observations by taking advantage of this
Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers (ALPO) Venus Section, with links
to Solar Section and others.
We encourage educators, researchers, and students to apply for a paid fellowship program to
research the transit of Venus.
A PLATO grant is available to members of the Great Lakes Planetarium
Association, for which we encourage GLPA members apply to advocate transit of
Venus educational opportunities.
International Astronomical Union Commission 41 recommends "sites of
previous transit of Venus expeditions be inventoried, marked and preserved..."
International Astronomical Union announces IAU Colloquium 196, Transits
of Venus: New Views of the Solar System and Galaxy, 7-11 June 2004,
University of Central Lancashire, UK.
IAU Colloquium 196 entitled Transits of Venus: New Views of the Solar System
and Galaxy will be held in Preston, Lancashire, UK, 7-11 June 2004.
Venus Transit Workshop, Amman, Jordan; June 6th - 9th, 2004; sponsored by
Arab Union of Astronomy and Space Sciences (AUASS) and the Jordanian
Astronomical Society (JAS).
Workshop in Iran on amateur astronomy and astronomy education, with emphasis on
the transit of Venus.
The Astronomical League celebrates the transit of Venus as its theme for
Astronomy Day on April 24, 2004. Hundreds of sites "host special
events and activities to acquaint their population with local astronomical
resources and facilities."
The Student Observation Network tracks solar storms and predicts the impact of
solar activity, such as aurorae.
Caveat about believing everything you see on the Internet (including here).
Extensive bibliography of original sources relating to transits of Venus, with
links to many of the original publications; from R.H. van Gent.