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Students take "Transit of Venus" to the World

​Snaphot of the 2012 Transit of Venus

On Wednesday 6th June 2012, Astronomy and Astrophysics students Ben Ruscoe, Sam Phipps, Adam Nairn, Luca Merono, Grace Lawrence, Bobby Stephens, Chris Dilger and Tristan Burford-Baynes from Tolga SS successfully streamed footage of the entire Transit of Venus event via the internet to all points of the globe from an observatory at Blackheath Thornburgh College in Charters Towers.  Their teacher, David Platz, reported that the success of the streaming was primarily due to their outstanding IT problem solving skills. 

Just two days prior to the big event, IT technicians at Charters Towers told the students that the likelihood of streaming the transit to the internet would be extremely low due to restrictions on internet bandwidth from their observatory to the school’s server.  Extremely disappointed, the students later sat down to “brainstorm” possible alternative methods using mobile phones and a computer equipped with 3G wireless network access.  By midday the day before the transit, the students had successfully completed their first streaming test. 

Students testing the streaming prior to the Tranist

Further testing and modifications lead to people and astronomers from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, France, Caribbean and Europe sending online messages commenting and praising the students on their professional and remarkable achievement in streaming the transit of Venus.  Over 2 000 viewers watched the live streaming from around the world. 

View of streaming recieved a
“Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris” Universite Pierre &  Marie Curie, France

The students also set up our portable 8” telescope fitted with a specialised camera outside the observatory to allow for over 300 school students and members of the public to view the rare event on a large screen.  Our students took turns at explaining the phenomenon and the equipment used to capture its images to all of these people​. Now over, Venus will not grace our sight in this manner for another 105.5 years.

The “Transit Crew”

L-R (Back) Grace Lawrence, Bobby Stephens, Sam Phipps, Chris Dilger, Darryl Dilger

L-R (Front) Tristan Burford-Baynes, Luca Merono, Adam Nairn, David Platz, Ben Ruscoe

Grace Lawrence aligning our 'classic' C8.Grace Lawrence and Chris Dilger checking Camera Settings.L-R Chris Dilger, Sam Phipps & Adam Nairn making final adjustments ready for streaming the next day.L-R Chris Dilger, Sam Phipps & Adam Nairn discuss streaming options the day before the transit.Sam Phipps trialling adjustments in preparation for streamimg the Transit of Venus the next day.  From left, Chris Dilger and Sam Phipps explore options to enhance streaming capability.L-R Ben Ruscoe, Grace Lawrence & Chris Dilger make final adjustments and checks for streaming the Transit of Venus the following day.More problem solving to enhance streaming.Brainstorming to solve streaming issues.More brainstorming for ideas on how to overcome streaming issues.Making final adjustments of the Classic C8 - L-R Bobby Stephens, Grace Lawrence, Luka Marano, David Platz & Ben Ruscoe.Crew checking control monitors for the C8 for the next day's viewing of the Transit of Venus by the public.Grace Lawrence & David Platz fitting a focal reducer to the C8.David Platz goes through the final game plan for streaming the Transit of Venus the next day.Final outside adjustments before the Transit of Venus the next day.Last streaming check by students before the Transit of Venus the next day.Chris Dilger taking his turn in charge of monitoring streaming.Streaming starts for the 2012 Transit of Venus.David Platz talks to reporter on streaming the Transit of Venus.Grace Lawrence talking with JCU academic staff.Tristan Burford-Baynes and Venus transiting the Sun.  Photo of Venus part-way through its transit of the Sun.Ben Ruscoe and Grace Lawrence making minor adjustments to the C8.Adam Nairn releases some stress after successfully streaming the Transit of Venus to the World.Back L-R Grace Lawrence, Bobby Stephens, Sam Phipps, Chris Dilger, Darryl Dilger
Front L-R Tristan Burford-Baynes, Luka Marano, Adam Nairn, David Platz, Ben Ruscoe.