2011-06-18

Dear colleagues,
It has been two weeks since the Transit of Venus Project’s website www.transitofvenus.nl was launched, and even in this short period of time it has been much improved. The transit calculator is now online, allowing you to compute the contact times for any given location on earth. Also, Rob van Gent agreed to host his extensive transit of Venus bibliography on our website. There’s still a lot of work to do before all of his bibliographic entries are transferred (the Bibliotèque nationale de France decided to change their permalinks on the Gallica website), so please return in the next couple of weeks to see for new additions. Together with the list of locations of historical observations, the project’s website now forms the most comprehensive resource for anyone interested in the history of the transit of Venus.
In the section “Getting involved” you’ll find the activities currently adopted by the Transit of Venus Project. More will follow, but for now I would like to introduce to you the three activities already open for all to participate:
What did astronomers in the past actually see? What did the black drop look like through an eighteenth century eyepiece, and could the aureole effect have been observed at all, as is often claimed? By observing the 2012 transit of Venus with antique telescopes, this project hopes to find an answer to these questions.
Contact: Randall Rosenfeld (r.rosenfeld@transitofvenus.nl)
Many of the locations where astronomers observed the transit of Venus in the past go unnoticed today. Still, these places tell exciting stories. This project’s objective is to relocate, inventory, restore and eventually mark significant sites of past transit expeditions.
Contact: Steven van Roode (s.vanroode@transitofvenus.nl)
This experiment – proposed originally by Edmond Halley, forming the driving force behind the historical expeditions and re-enacted on a large scale in 2004 – will be repeated again in 2012. This time, however, we will make use of modern technology, much of which wasn’t even available to us in 2004. Measuring of the contact times and submitting your data will be facilitated by an easy to use (and free) phone app.
Contact: Steven van Roode (s.vanroode@transitofvenus.nl)
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to our fund-raising campaign. We need funds to start developing the phone app for you. See http://www.transitofvenus.org/education/video-new-media/217-phone-app for more details of the phone app. Please support the Transit of Venus Project by donating $50, $100 or more! You can use the donate button on our home page to contribute your gift. Donations are made to Astronomers Without Borders and may be tax deductible. Just think of how wonderful it would be if you could find and send your contact times with a free phone app on June 5 or 6 next year, without the need to leave the eyepiece. And hundreds of thousands of others will benefit from your donation too!
In the mean time, if you haven’t done it already, please consider joining our group on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_108400462513165
Sincerely,
Steven van Roode
(on behalf of the Transit of Venus Project)
www.transitofvenus.nl
info@transitofvenus.nl

2011-06-13

Dear colleagues,
It’s less than a year towards the next transit of Venus on June 5/6, 2012. On the occasion of the last transit in 2004, you or your organisation planned activities and observing projects to engage as much people as possible in the observation of this rare phenomenon. Now again the time has come to think of demanding programmes that will enable the public to actively participate in the observation of the transit of Venus.
In 2004 there were co-ordinating organisations like ESO’s VT-2004 programme. Now, you can once more join such a programme. Last week the Transit of Venus Project was launched: www.transitofvenus.nl
Run under the aegis of Astronomers Without Borders, this international project offers a platform for different activities engaging the public in this celestial event and promoting global collaboration throughout a large part of the world.
Right now, activities already include the measuring of the solar system by timing the transit from widespread locations with a phone app, an archaeological experiment in which historic Venus transit observations are emulated using antique instruments and the marking of significant sites of past transit expeditions, and more activities will be added in the next few weeks. Your participation and support are highly appreciated. You may benefit from our vast network, facilities and publicity. If you would like to host your project at the Transit of Venus Project, please send us an email with the name and address, together with information about your activities.
The home page will be a dynamic page, featuring blog posts from various authors, informing the public on the transit from different angles and disciplines. If you would like to make a contribution to this platform, please contact us and you could be added as an author.
Other pages will give background information: lists of important historic sites, a calculator to compute the local contact times of the transit, an observer’s guide, and much more.
If your are interested in becoming involved and wish to join the Transit of Venus Project, please send an email.
We look forward to hear from you.
Sincerely,
Steven van Roode
(on behalf of the Transit of Venus Project)
www.transitofvenus.nl
info@transitofvenus.nl