Home » News » CESAR at the European Planetary Science Conference EPSC: transits in our Solar System
CESAR at the European Planetary Science Conference EPSC: transits in our Solar System

CESAR was present on the European Planetary Science Conference EPSC_2017, held 18-22 Sep 2017 in  Riga, Latvia. CESAR presented their activities about the Solar Transits Special Events and related Education. The posters described the activities carried out during the Venus Transit 2012Mercury Transit 2016 and Total Solar Eclipse 2017. The work was possible thanks to the CESAR initiative, in collaboration with the ESAC/ESTEC Comms offices, and the ESAC solar projects Venus Express, Solar Orbiter, Bepi Colombo and Proba-3. Prospects for next transits will involve the European Southern Observatory (ESO) during the total eclipse on 2 July 2019 at La Silla, Chile, and the Mercury Transit 2019. 

Click on image for high res

Presentation title, abstract and pdf links:

Title: Transits in our Solar System for educational activities: Venus Transit 2012Mercury Transit 2016 and Total Solar Eclipse 2017

Authors: Miguel Pérez-Ayúcar, Michel Breitfelner, M. Castillo and the CESAR team

Abstract:  Solar transits are rare astronomical event of profound historical importance and with an enormous potential to engage nowadays students and general public into Planetary Sciences and Space.

Mercury transits occur only about every 13-14 times per century. Total solar eclipses occur around 18 months apart somewhere on Earth, but they recur only every 3-4 centuries on the same location. Although its historic scientific importance (examples, to measure the distances in the solar system, to observe the solar corona) has diminished since humanity roams our solar system with robotic spacecrafts, transits remain a spectacular astronomical event that is used very effectively to engage general public and students to Science and Space in general.

The educational project CESAR (Cooperation through Education in Science and Astronomy Research), has been covering since 2012 such events (Venus transit 2012, live Sun transmissions, solar eclipses, ISS transits ...). We will report the outcome of two major events since last year: the May 2016 Mercury Transit, and the recent August 2017 Total Eclipse. CESAR organizes during these transits educational and outreach events. The driving activity is a live interactive hangout connecting students around the globe (Spain, Chile, USA, …), the remote observing teams, and the scientists at ESAC (European Space Astronomy Center). Live images are transmitted via a specific web in two bands (h-alpha and visible). Questions and answers sessions were performed so that world-wide audience can interact with the scientists and engineers.

For the Mercury Transit in May 2016, a dual observation was made from two separate locations: a twin portable telescope set-up at the IAC (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias) Izaña, Tenerife, Spain, and in Cerro Paranal, Chile, achieving a ground baseline parallax of around 10.000km. For the Total Eclipse in August 2017, a team will travel to Wyoming, USA, to transmit live the occultation. CESAR collaborated with several Spanish schools/universities, the ESA Education and Communications offices, the Teide and Cerro Paranal observatories and the ESA projects Bepi Colombo and Solar Orbiter.

In this paper we explain how these two public educational and outreach events were created, what activities they comprised, and the follow up activities expected for future transits.


Related news
CESAR at EPSC 2018
CESAR presenter its activities and Mercury Transits at the European Planetary Science Conference EPSC 2018, held 17-21 Sep 2017 in Berlin, Germany. See more
Blood Moon: longest eclipse in a century
CESAR team witnessed and recorded on 27th July 2018 the longer lunar eclipse in a century, from ESAC (European Space Astronomy Center). See more
Eratosthenes Experiment 2018
The CESAR team organized a special experimental activity about the classical Earth’s diameter calculation, with the Caude School of Majadahonda, Madrid and IES Manuel de Falla, Maracena, Granada. The 1-2 ESO students (12-14 years old) learnt how in 200 BC, the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth using simple geometry and a few measurements. See more
Diamond ring
A diamond ring for San Valentine See more
The Sun in 2017
The Sun in 2017 as seen by the CESAR Helios Observatory located at ESAC, Madrid. The posters compile in a calendar form a sample of the images acquired during each day in 2017. Other highlights of 2017 are also shown. See more
Total eclipse 2017 – CESAR live
On the 21 August 2017, members of the ESA CESAR team made an exciting expedition to observe the total solar eclipse, visible this year from the US. See more
ISS by Moonlight in different Europe media
The CESAR team observation about ISS crossing in front of the Moon in important media around Europe See more
ISS by Moonlight
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s the ISS as it apparently flies across the surface of the Moon. See more
CESAR in the Space Education International workshop
The CESAR initiative was invited to participate in the Space Education International Workshop in Leiden,The Netherlands, giving a session for teachers from different countries of the European Union. See more
CESAR in First Space Summer School on ESAC
CESAR team promoted the First Space Summer School in the European Space Astronomy Center. See more
Detailed image of the Sun´s surface
On the image, some main features of the Sun's chromosphere such as sunspots or filaments are visible. See more
'First Light' for HELIOS ESAC's Solar Observatory
The Sun images and videos will be posted and archived in dedicated webpages for the Solar Observatory See more
First light in Robledo´s telescope
Last sunday was the first light of this telescope in Training and Visitors Center of NASA See more