Thursday, June 7, 2012

Took a little detour on our way home. Notice the moon! Absolutely gorgeous!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Apart from being clouded out for a few hours in the morning, we have succesfully observed and recorded the Transit of Venus!! The feedback and genuine excitement from everyone at CMS and Alice Springs, Australia has been overwhelming! On behalf of Columbus State University and the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, THANK YOU for hosting us and being a part(ner) of this historic event!
Almost at 3rd contact!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We are live with an image!!
Sun is starting to peak out. Images soon!
Clouded out here for the moment. Clouds should be deminishing soon. Stay tuned!

We are up (barely) and ready to head to CMS for the Transit of Venus!!!! We see a few clouds out but keeping our fingers crossed that they will disapate by first contact @7:45 . hope you all will tune in in a few hours!!

It took longer than we thought to get the scopes aligned and set just right. We finally got the two scopes aligned with the sun in view. Its a lot harder than it looks. Since we can't keep the rig in place we have to store it in the school and bring it back out in the morning. Hopefully it won't take too much more tweaking in the morning. We both feel confident though. Until tomorrow, cheers!! from Australia!!
Its about 2:40 pm. We are still trying to align and setup the telescope.We expect everything to work well. The webcam is all setup and operational. We will use this to stream to NASA. Its live right now with no sound, but you can see us! (

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rock star Michael being interviewed by ABC

Setting up for the trial run. 

Almost set up to start a dry run. 

We have picked our spot.

Just got to CMS. Looks like its going to be a beautiful day for the test run!

Transit is a go in Alice Springs

Just did a final check of the weather. All is go for practice tomorrow and the event on June 6 (June 5 for you in the USA) The staff and students at Centralian Middle School have been wonderful! Keep an eye out for some test shots as we go though out test checklist tomorrow.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Setting up for the news
Just checked weather. Its looking good! As of right now, we are a go @ CMS!

This is the front lawn of CMS were we will be observing from. Thats if the weather holds.

Back at CMS for another round of classes. We have 4 today. Tomorrow will be a test run starting around 6:30am.
We are closely watching the weather as the big day gets closer. It calls for partly cloudy skies. With the generous help from Matt at Centralian Middle School we will be scoping out "plan B" sites. If it calls for cloudy skies Wednesday morning we may be traveling to another site on Tuesday. Keep your fingers crossed!

Michael and Lance having a few laughs with students during the School of the Air broadcast in Alice Springs.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Back in Alice Springs and back to work! 

This is the key to our hotel room in Uluru. They had a pretty neat way to conserve energy. Taking the key out to leave the room turned off all lights and the AC. Putting it back turned it back on. 

We had a gap in our schedule so we traveled to  Uluru (Ayers Rock). 

Dear future explorer:

We hope to excite your sense of wonder. We have seen how awed you are when you get to see a planet like Venus, Mars, or Saturn through a telescope. Imagine How much more exciting must it be to see one of those same planets silhouetted against the stunning backdrop of our Sun’s erupting activity? We invite you to discover by walking in the footsteps of explorers of the past. If you are able to live a moment in those shoes, everything you study, experience, and take for granted, becomes more meaningful and inspiring. This will be the one chance in your lifetime to walk in these shoes.
To nod to a famous quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” Events like this allow you to explore that idea…to acknowledge the lasting impact of early scientists and the foundations that have fueled the progression of science as we know it today. Would we have traveled to the Moon or sent probes into space without the early observations and calculations gathered and derived by watching Venus transit the Sun? Quite possibly not.
We want to show you that you are standing on a planet that's part of a larger solar system, and that by making observations - such as those we're making of the Transit of Venus - we can understand more about the solar system, our universe, and our place in them.

Friday, June 1, 2012

 Hello! Lance and I had some fun last night with our cameras, In the second picture I am pointing out the southern cross (Crux) and let me tell you the skies are AMAZING here.

In the studio at the School of the Air in Alice Springs. We talked virtually to students in several regions around Australia. They could see us via the web and could text or use their computer microphone to ask questions. Some were 1200km away. Michael and I were humbled and honored to be able to represent Columbus State University and the CCSSC in such a far reaching educational event.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Setting up for huge broadcast to australian students!!

Mike setting up for just about the biggest audience of his life! ...broadcast throughout mid Australia!

3rd day 2nd class. Still going very well!

Boomerangs made by the indiginous people around Alice Springs, Australia. Interestingly these were not made to return. Those were mostly made on the coast.

We had some free time tonight so we stopped by this great didgeridoo shop.   The owner played a little for us which sounded amazing!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Another great class session with Bradshaw Primary. Had some great questions.

I made a new friend this morning. He was just outside our hotel lobby. Not sure if he was wild or not.
We just received a request from our first class to come back for an additional 1/2 hr!

So we rented a car and had a few laughable moments getting in the car on the wrong side. Their steering wheel is on the opposite side AND they drive on the other side of the road. Here Michael perfectly illustrates this :)

1st day 2nd class

Michael showing Centralian year 7 students the ccd chip inside the camera. He explains that instead of your eye looking through the telescope, the camera does. Then the video from the camera goes into the computer to be broadcast on the internet live.
Michael and I got turned around in one of the roundabouts this morning heading to the school. Lucky the school group is a little late too. We are in the classroom setting up waiting for the Bradshaw Primary school to arrive with their year 4/5 students.
Saw the southern cross last night just outside our hotel. It was gorgeous!


The Centralian school has been great and Michael and I feel VERY welcomed! They put together this board which includes a picture of the CCSSC!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Education in Alice Springs

First educational lesson done! The students are great, and I think I had a hard question during this image. The school here is amazing! More updates soon! Also will have a full webcast schedule up for the important events. Off to teach more students about the transit!
Michael and I made it safely to Alice Springs! Can't say the same for the equipment suitcases. Thankfully all equipment is ok. We have two presentations tomorrow to get ready for so signing out for now.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Michael, Scott & Mary going through the massive amount of equipment and parts that need to be packed.

Michael Johnson with the master plan! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Please stay tuned to our 2012 Transit of Venus coverage. This blog is currently being developed and will host text post, photos, videos and a whole lot more from all of our teams covering this incredible, astronomical event! This blog will be a broadcast of our adventures! The LIVE transit images will be viewable at Both sites will be active during the event so bookmark us now!
Preparing the scopes for the Transit!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

On June 5, 2012, a unique celestial event will take place, never to be repeated in our lifetimes. The planet Venus will align itself perfectly between the Earth and the Sun. This rare alignment will allow Venus to be visible as it passes directly across the face of the Sun in an event that astronomers call a transit. The 2012 Transit of Venus will last nearly 7 hours, and it will provide an extraordinary viewing event for observers around the world. Unfortunately, this event is not well positioned for audiences in the continental United States and will only be visible to Georgia viewers for about 2 hours as the Sun sets in the west. An additional limitation in viewing the Sun is the danger posed to the naked eye, therefore special equipment and techniques are required to create a safe observing environment.

In an effort to make this event more accessible to the public, Columbus State University’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center (CCSSC) has partnered with NASA and the International Space School Education Trust (ISSET) to provide a multi-continent webcast of the 2012 Transit of Venus. Audiences throughout the world, including those in Georgia, will have an opportunity to experience this entire event safely via the internet and NASA TV. CCSSC teams will travel to both the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and the Australian outback near Alice Springs to be in optimal observing conditions to acquire images and video of the entire transit. Additionally, one CCSSC team will remain in Georgia to provide local images and video of the event and Columbus State University student, Katherine Lodder, will provide a second set of U.S. images from Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. The three continental teams will be equipped with hydrogen alpha, calcium K-line, and solar white light filters that will allow for spectacular imaging of this event. These filters are provided by the CCSSC’s Mead Observatory, where they are used regularly to obtain images and animations of solar phenomena such as sunspots, flares, plages, faculae, prominences, and filaments. Typically, students from Columbus State study these solar phenomena to better understand the Sun’s cycle of activity and its interaction with the Earth. However, during the Transit of Venus, these solar features will become, for one final period in our lives, the stunning backdrop against which Venus’s planetary disk will cross the Sun’s 865,000-mile wide face.

With your help, this could be one of the largest astronomical webcast events on record. View the transit with the CCSSC team at or by linking through our partners at NASA’s Sun Earth Day website,

Three Wavelengths…Three Continents…

One Worldwide Webcast Event

2012 Transit of Venus… Chronicling History Together