Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


VENUS TRANSIT 2004 — Result In Brief

Project ID: 508963
Funded under: FP6-SOCIETY
Country: Germany

A lesson from Venus

The passage of Venus in front of our Sun has enabled students and amateurs of astronomy to broaden their horizons, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about phenomena in space.
A lesson from Venus
When Venus passed in front of our Sun in 2004, a rare happening which last occurred in 1882, astronomers and researchers hailed it as an opportunity for learning. The EU-funded project 'Venus transit in June 2004: exoplanets and the size of the world' (VENUS Transit 2004) took this opportunity to enlighten students on different angles of the larger universe around us. These included measuring distances in space, planetary motions, structure of the solar system, parallax effects and identification of extra-solar planets.

Bringing together teachers, students, astronomers and even the general public, project participants had the opportunity to measure astronomical values and compare the data with established theory. The project involved links with schools outside Europe, vigorous dissemination of promotional material in different languages and establishment of several sites for public observation of the celestial event. On the electronic front, in addition to a project website, VENUS Transit 2004 featured real-time webcasts with images from various professional sites and an online forum to engage the public.

Activities at the early stages of the project included preparatory meetings for teachers, media and amateur astronomers. This was followed by a series of press releases, as well as publication of a book and CD-Rom on the subject. The site has become a fascinating 'memory bank' on the project designed to last for many years, and represents an important repository of information for students, teachers and the public.

The project also participated in the 'Venus transit experience' conference held in 2004 in Paris, highlighting the achievements of this public education programme. Key speakers at the conference shared a myriad of presentations and reports that captivated participants, representing a very successful example of how such a unique phenomenon could be exploited. The event could serve as a basis for other once-in-a-lifetime topics in the future.

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