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  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 eliminate.  

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 project.
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)

This website makes no endorsement of products or projects listed here.  We offer the information as a public service and make no claims about the material to which we link.

Copyright 2003-2008 Chuck Bueter.  All rights reserved.