One of the things that makes the Astronomy On-line Project unique, is the way it utilizes the absolute borderless communication possibilities of the Internet. We have had phones for many years, but now our written words and images can travel all over the globe with just a few mouse-clicks. The power of this communication mode, and the possibilities it brings along, is demonstrated everytime we or our students use the Astronomy On-line pages.
The Solar Eclipse on Saturday will be imaged from two different places in Europe - Portugal and Denmark. This will give the geographical baseline needed in order to determine the distance to the Moon. The eclipse will reach 68 percent in Denmark and 40 percent in Portugal.
But the World Wide Web has even more to offer than text and images. A trans-European collaboration between Danish astronomy students, astronomers, high school pupils, planetarium people and a Portuguese amateur astronomer on Saturday will transmit simultaneous CCD-images of the entire Solar Eclipse, obtained in Portugal and Denmark, to the computer screens of the whole world.
The images will be transmitted every five minutes to a WWW page which will reload automatically. In this way the progress of the eclipse can be monitored even outside Europe. And as the The Solar Eclipse Group states on the Astronomy On-line Solar Eclipse page:
...these measurements may allow us to give a reliable determination of the distance and the size of the Moon. This would probably be the first time such a measurement is done by a concerted programme with so many young participants!
On the Solar Eclipse Webpages you will find very nice and detailed descriptions on how to determine the distance to the Moon from just a few input parameters (which in our case will appear on the WWW page).
You will be able to follow the eclipse on the following WWW adress:
A CCD image of the Sun obtained by Antonio Jose Cidadao on Saturday October 5. The images we plan to take of the eclipsed Sun on October 12 will be similar.
The weather in Denmark is unfortunately not very well suited for astronomical observations, so the risk that we will not observe the Sun at all is present. We have take some precautions though. We will try to observe the event from two different observing points in Denmark - In Sønderborg in Jutland and in Copenhagen on Zealand. In this way the chance of success should be somewhat larger, since the two places are approximately 250 km apart.
Before finishing this newsflash we would like to briefly mention a special event which is going to take place Saturday in the Tycho Brahe Planetarium in the heart of Copenhagen. Maybe some of you out there will get inspired...!
One of the Danish sets of images will be obtained outside the Planetarium, where a number of telescopes will be set up to present the eclipse to the general public. The eclipse will also be observed inside the Planetarium through a large heliostat. The heliostat follows the Sun during the day and projects a solar image about half a meter across. During the eclipse it is also the idea to project the above-mentioned eclipse CCD-images from the Internet with a videoprojector on a large screen next to the heliostat. It is also the plan to combine the CCD images to a movie which may be sent to the TV stations in the Copenhagen area for broadcast in the evening news.
We are sure this project will make the people attending the Planetarium on Saturday as well as people from the rest of Europe and the World wonder about sizes and distances in the Solar system.
Maybe our `huge' homeplanet isn't so large after all...
On behalf of the entire group
Lars Lindberg Christensen
The group consists of: