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Transit a HUGE success!

posted Jun 6, 2012, 1:32 AM by Mike White   [ updated Jun 9, 2012, 4:13 PM ]
Well, what a day it has been! Given the forecast conditions, our mobile "transit chaser" team (Steve Chadwick, Ian Cooper, Simon & Tina Hills and John Honare) were hurriedly packing for the Hawkes Bay about 5am this morning!  They managed to set up our solar gear on the rooftop of the Napier Planetarium and just catch the start of the transit in time for our live webcast.  They probably captured about 1.5 hours of the transit for us before the weather packed in and they had to go searching for clearer skies.  Unfortunately, none were to be found within easy travelling distance, so they were forced to head home. Well done guys, what a supreme effort, which was much appreciated by those of us watching the live webcast!

Thanks also to the Hawke's Bay Astronomical Society for allowing us to use their facilities for the broadcast, and also to members of the Palmerston North Astronomical Society, who also travelled to the Hawke's Bay and helped on the day!

The team at the Levin library (myself, Joan, Allen, Glen, Paul and others) were kept busy with setting up equipment and running the live webcast, as well as displaying the webcast live on the big screen and interacting with the public.  There was a LOT of interest, and people were enthralled to see this event unfolding live before their eyes.  Well done to the library team for keeping this thing going! John Powell also kindly turned up with his solar telescope later in the day, and many library patrons, staff and passing public got to view the action for themselves in-between the copious cloud cover! Many thanks John, that was much appreciated!

A huge vote of thanks also to Massey University, who provided the link between the remote video and the live broadcast in the form of an Adobe Connect virtual meeting room!  This was the vital "missing link" that we struggled to find a solution for, and without it, we may not have been able to do all of this!

Unfortunately, due to the weather, we had to switch from our own live coverage and start broadcasting some international coverage so we didn't miss the action, but you do what you've got to do. Initially we used the live coverage from and later from Exploratorium, which was broadcasting from an observatory Hawaii. I wish we had done this a little earlier, as the half-hourly commentary was very good. However, hindsight is a wondrous thing.

If you missed our live webcast, the majority of it was recorded, and is available to view on our website - http ://www . horoastronomy . org . nz/stargazing/broadcast. It has been broken into 3 parts because the Ustream limit for saving recordings is 3 hours. You do need Adobe Flash Player installed to view the Ustream broadcasts and recordings.

Once again, a HUGE thankyou to all involved - it was a massive team effort to get this up and running. We ended up with over 1500 live views of our coverage, which is brilliant! A big thankyou also to the Levin Library for allowing us to host this event there, and especially to Deborah (Library Events Coordinator) for helping set this up and Jo Ransom for vacating her office to allow me to run the webcast live from there!

I'll leave you with these fantastic images of the transit, taken by our mobile transit team early on in the transit.

Transit of Venus 2012


Mike White
Events Coordinator