Transit of Venus
Global Observing Projects
Observers across the earth can cooperate to measure the distance
to the sun by timing the transit of Venus, just as the international science
community conducted global expeditions to time previous
transits. Below are links to global observing projects for people of
all ages. At a low degree of difficulty, observers simply time the instant
of internal contact (when Venus touches the inside edge of the sun) and
contribute that timing and their latitude to an international pool of
data. At a more advanced level, students time the event and do the math
themselves, with the accuracy dependent on how much error you choose to
Because these types of sites are growing
as the transit nears, we recommend you re-visit them regularly. Several of
the projects are listed concurrently on the Education
Resources page, along with substantial resources for teachers.
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."
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.
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
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.
Measuring 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.
Jim Huddle of the U.S. Naval Academy proposes "a variation of Halley's
method that avoids the complications of the Black Drop Effect...and requests
collaborators to test the method during the transit of Venus on 8 June
2004." Observers simply photograph Venus at fifteen minute intervals,
noting the times of the photos. (PDF file)
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We offer the information as a public service and make no claims about the
material to which we link.