World event in the Frogner Park

by Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard, project leader for the Transit of Venus event, 8 June 2004, in Oslo

On the 8th of June we shall gather to marvel at the most important celestial phenomenon of modern times as the planet Venus glides across the solar disk. More than 30 organizations have joined forces for a grand celebration of a phenomenon so rare that no living being has ever witnessed it. At this gathering you will experience aliens, rocket launches, a concert, national prize announcements, a world inauguration, and several other amazing features. On our huge 40 m2 screen you can follow the transit of Venus, in real time, accompanied by expert commentaries.

On June 8, 2004 Venus will transit the Sun as seen from the Earth. With eclipse glasses we will see Venus as a tiny, black dot against the bright solar disk. Click on the illustration for full size and resolution.
Illustration: Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Oslo

The transit starts Tuesday the 8th at 7.19 a.m. as Venus "makes contact" with the solar disk for the first time in 122 years. This is truly a historic moment and possibly the most awe-inspiring sight the heavens have to offer!

About 30 minutes earlier we expect to see some unique images, displayed on a 40 m2 screen, of Venus slowly approaching the solar limb; hopefully we will be able to see the atmosphere of Venus as a bright, incandescent ring. This effect has never been seen before, nor has it ever been captured on film!

As the transit evolves, we expect to see several strange phenomena. Images taken at different locations in Norway and abroad will be displayed and used to demonstrate how one can calculate the distance to the Sun.

Folkefest i Frognerparken under solformørkelsen
Some of the more than 20 000 people enjoying the solar eclipse in the Frogner Park early in the morning of May 31, 2003.
Photo: Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard

A unique sight - guaranteed!

With solar eclipse glasses, which you can buy on location, you can follow the pitch dark Venus on its historic solar cruise. In addition, we have at least 30 telescopes offering even more spectacular views.

Whatever the weather - in the Frogner Park you will see the transit of Venus center stage! We will receive and display images from several different locations in Norway and abroad. We have even hired a small plane so that a group of photographers may chase the clear skies.

The last time Norway was in such a favorable position for viewing the transit was in 1283. The next time will be in the year 2247.

A Venus party

During the six-hour Venus crossing, the spectators can explore space, the exciting world of natural science and the wonders of technology. More than 30 participants contribute to a spectrum of experiences, activities, and stimulating exhibitions. The list can be found here. Keywords: Life in space, aliens, lego robots, rocket launches, "rainmakers", Mars mission (on the spot!). You can also see genuine dinosaur fossils, magical metals, grab a celestial object, get weather forecasts, see a real "energy tree" and lots of other things! Besides the transit of Venus, the big screen displays movies (even Imax!) and animations.

The event also includes a world premiere of "School Linux", and after the transit, Department Secretary Kristin Clemet will award the "Nysgjerrigper" science prize to the most inquisitive young scientists from Norway's elementary schools.

The transit of Venus lasts from 7.19 a.m. to 1.22 p.m. However, both before and after the main event there will be very exciting things going on in the Frogner Park and in the sky.

Overview of the Frogner Park. The event will take place along the mid axis and the big A area. Illustration: "Friluftsetaten i Oslo" and astronomy.no.

Quite a warm-up!

The "warm-up" to this world event starts already on Monday - exactly 99 years since Norway became an independent nation. Follow the countdown in the Frogner Park!

The national event opens at 2 p.m. At 6 p.m. "Natur og Ungdom" and Fretex will have a fashion show with second-hand clothes. At 7-8 p.m. the organization "07-06-05 tid for forandring" will celebrate our nation's 99th anniversary by inviting you to a concert with Unni Wilhelmsen and Jo Nesbø as well as a talk between Jostein Gaarder and Elisabeth Molander of 07-06-05. You may also be in for a surprise...

The spectators witnessing the transit on the 8th of June in the Frogner Park will probably outnumber the grand total of humans that have ever seen Venus silhouetted against the solar disk! And the Venus party in the Frogner Park will probably be the biggest of its kind anywhere in the world.

Moreover: In case of bad weather, it is only in the Frogner Park you can experience what no living being on Earth has ever witnessed before!

And remember; everything is free!!!

No living person has witnessed this before, but perhaps the atmosphere of Venus will shine like a bright ring around the planet in the minutes before the contact and after the exit from the solar disk. This is just one of several unique phenomena that we hope to witness.
Illustration: astronomy.no

Organizers:
Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics (University of Oslo)
Norwegian Astronomical Society
"Nysgjerrigper" (of The Research Council of Norway)

Main sponsors:
The Research Council of Norway
The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Oslo
ESO/The European Commission

Collaborators:
"Oslo Miljøfestival 2004"
"07-06-05 tid for forandring"

Links:
Main page for the Tranit of Venus event
National event in the Frogner Park

PRESS CONTACT:

Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard
Astronomer

Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics
Box 1029 Blindern
N-0315 Oslo

Phone: +47 22 85 75 22 (office, ITA)
+47 992 77 172 (cell)
+47 613 11 359 (private, weekend)

E-mail: knutjo@astro.uio.no

General contact information
webmaster@astro.uio.no
Created 2 June 2004 by Jan-Erik Ovaldsen