- Press Release
- Dec 8, 2022
Moon and four planets in the evening sky
Moon and four planets in the evening sky – A fine prelude to the venus transit
During the coming evenings, everybody under clear skies will be able
to enjoy a beautiful view in the twilight. Right after sunset, planet
Venus is visible as a brilliant point of light above the western
horizon – and two other planets, Mars and Saturn, are seen to the left
of Venus as somewhat less bright objects. More to the south and higher
in the sky, planet Jupiter is also prominent.
In the evenings of April 22 and 23, the thin crescent of the Moon will
be located near Venus and Mars, further adding to the splendor of this
sight (the drawing shows the configuration in the evening of Friday,
One month later, around May 21, there will be another chance to
witness this interesting celestial sight. And even more: on that
particular Friday, for observers in Europe, the Moon will pass in
front of Venus. Known as an “occultation”, this event will happen
around 12 hrs Universal Time (UT), i.e. in full daylight during early
afternoon in central Europe.
These are fine preludes to the rare astronomical event on Tuesday,
June 8th, 2004, when Venus will pass in front of the solar disc, as
seen from the Earth. This “Venus Transit” happened last time in the
year 1882 and now provides a vast public in Europe, Africa, Asia and
Australia the opportunity for a unique experience.
The VT-2004 programme is gaining momentum
The “Venus Transit 2004 Programme (VT-2004)” is a joint public science
discovery activity of several European research institutes . It
aims at reaching the widest possible circles and stimulating broad
public participation, involving many active partners. The front page
of the VT-2004 website (http://www.vt-2004.org/) provides an overview
of the many approaches inherent in this large-scale programme.
The present communication is the first in a series to be issued
between now and the Venus Transit event seven weeks hence. They aim at
informing about the progress and outlook of the various
activities. With a rapidly increasing number of visitors to the
VT-2004 website and more and more requests for information from the
public and the media, the VT-2004 programme is now obviously gaining
momentum at a rapid pace and these communications therefore also serve
as status records.
Information and materials for the media
Media representatives will find a lot of useful material at the VT-2004
- A series of 33 Information Sheets, with
related background facts. They are available in two versions
(“brief” and “extended”). Ranging from information about the
visibility of the Venus transit and the physical characteristic of
that planet to associated mythology and science fiction, from
distances in the Universe to historical expeditions, virtually all
related subjects are covered – a true treasure trove of information!
- A list of partner organisations in- and outside Europe,
collaborating within the VT-2004 Network. Some of
these have been designated VT-2004 Nodes; they have
set up their own websites and are promoting the many activities in
their respective areas. They provide relevant local information in
the local languages.
- Special webareas for the Media, for Students and
Teachers (Education) (a vast number of schools are organising
activities before and during the event), Amateur Astronomers
(many astronomy clubs are arranging public viewings)
and also for the Youngest.
- Broadcast-quality video material (animations,
etc.) and related photos are also available.
- On the day of the transit, many activities will take place, cf.
the overview, hereunder the transmission of live
images from many observing sites via the “Central Display”.
Media representatives are welcome to contact the organisers via email
The full text of VT-2004 Press Communication 01 (April 21, 2004), with
one figure and all weblinks, is available at:
 The VT-2004 programme is organised by the European Southern
Observatory (ESO) http://www.eso.org/, the European Association for
Astronomy Education (EAAE) http://www.eaae-astro.org, the Institut
de Mecanique Celeste et de Calcul des Ephemerides (IMCCE)
http://www.imcce.fr/ and the Observatoire de Paris
http://www.obspm.fr in France, and the Astronomical Institute of the
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic http://www.asu.cas.cz. It
is supported by the European Commission in the framework of European
Science Week 2004.