LIVE! ECLIPSE 2003 Annular Press Release
May 22, 2003

LIVE! UNIVERSE webcasts the annular solar eclipse of the midnight sun
The shadow moves from East to West
-- From 12:00 to 14:00 on May 31, From Iceland and Finland --

Non-profit organization LIVE! UNIVERSE (Ohta Ward, Tokyo. Chairman is Masami Okyudo), which relays astronomical phenomena via various networks, will conduct the project "LIVE! ECLIPSE 2003 Annular" by webcasting the annular solar ecli pse that will be mainly observed in North Europe and Russia on May 31.

Different from a total solar eclipse, which the moon hides the sun completely, an annular solar eclipse is a phenomenon that the moon does not hide the sun completely and the sun looks like a ring. This time, as the annular solar eclipse occurs in the midnight sun* season, it will occur just after the sun rises and the altitude of the sun is low. Besides, different from the ordinary solar eclipse in which the shadow of the moon on the ground from West to East, the shadow moves from East to West in this eclipse. In ordinary solar eclipses, the shadow of the moon which hides the sun moves on the ground of the earth from West to East. However, as this eclipse occurs in high latitudes of northern hemisphere around the midsummer, the shadow of the moon passes the north pole and moves toward the opposite side of the axis against the sun. Therefore, the shadow moves from East to West, in the opposite direction of ordinary solar eclipses.

The live webcast is scheduled from 12:00 to 14:00 on May 31, Saturday and you can enjoy the webcast on http://www.live-eclipse.org/http://www.live-eclipse.org/. The observation points are Akureyri in Iceland and Helsinki in Finlnd. The annular solar eclipse will be observed in Akureyri and a partial solar eclipse (85.8% eclipse) will be observed in Helsinki. Followings are the eclipse forecast:


  JST Local Time UT
Contact I (Eclipse begins) 12:07 03:07 03:07
Contact II (Annular solar eclipse begins) 13:02 04:02 04:02
Contact III (Annular solar eclipse ends) 13:06 04:06 04:06
Contact IV (Eclipse ends) 14:02 05:02 05:02


  JST Local Time UT
Contact I (Eclipse begins) 11:36 04:36 02:36
Maximum of the partial solar eclipse 12:36 05:36 03:36
Contact IV (Eclipse ends) 13:39 06:39 04:39

This webcast will be carried out based on the live video images and the animat ion of time-lapse photographs. We will broadcast the live video and time-lapse photographs from Akureyri and the time-lapse photographs from Helsinki. The images from Akureyri will be sent to Japan through INMARSAT. The images from He lsinki will be sent through Inthernet. The animation of time-lapse photographs is made of still images taken at regular time intervals. On the image processing server in Japan, still images are changed to continuou s time-lapse animation by the time. As the passage of time is compressed, you can see in a short amount of time tha t the surface of the earth darkens by the eclipse. To watch the moving images of live video and time-lapse photography, Windows Media Player is necessary.The bandwidth will be 34 kbps.

At Misato Observatory (Wakayama Prefecture), where the chairman of LIVE! UNIVERSE is the director, will hold a lecture on solar eclipse by utilizing the contents of this webcast.The target is from children to adults. Admission fee and reservation are not necessary. For details,please ask Misato Observatory, 073-498-0305.

One of the staff who is going to Iceland made a following remark:
A solar eclipse can be seen in the daytime. It's true but this eclipse begins at 3:00 a.m. at local time. This is because it is the midnight sun season where the sun sinks under the holizon only for 2 hours. Therefore, though this solar eclipse occurs in the opposite side of Japan, it can be observed in the daytime in Japan. I think you can enjoy the difference of apparent sun. As it is seen at the high latitude and it is almost the midnight sun,the altitude of the sun won't go so high. The aititude of the sun will be only 4 degrees at the annular solar eclips and the observation condition is very severe. Please hope that clouds around the horizon won't get in the way.

Including the webcast by the predecessor LIVE! ECLIPSE Executive Committee,this is the 9th webcast of solar eclipses and the 3rd webcast of annlar solar eclipses. One of our challenges is to distribute more stable moving images by using many streaming web sites with the contribuion of CRN Forum (Content Routing Network Forum http://www.crnf.net/). This enables the site veiwers to enjoy the annular solar eclipse more confortably.

* Midnight sun: When the altitude of the sun is less than 18 degrees from the horizon, the sky does not get dark and this status is called "twilight". Midnight sun is a phenomenon that the sun does not set below the horizon or the sky remains twilight at midnight in the high latitudes.

LIVE! UNIVERSE is a non-profit organization, that have broadcasted astronomical phenomena such as solar eclipse via the Internet from all over the world. Its members are amateur astronomers, professional astronomers, network engineers, etc., and some of the members webcasts the astronominal phenomenon from the field via from the INMARSAT, INTELSAT, etc. The web sites are always provided in Japanese and English, and have presented astronominal phenomenon to the world as one of the entertainments. The technology of taking images has improved each time and has successfully presented beautiful images. Besides, thanks to the broadband, the web contents are used in distance learning at school education or astronominal observatories.

The members participate LIVE! UNIVERSE to try various technologies. They not only get the sense of fullfilment, but also enjoy and believe the value of presenting striking experience of natural phenomenon to the world via the Internet. Webcasting has performed as LIVE! ECLIPSE and LIVE! LEONIDS Executive Committees since 1997.

These two executive committees were integrated and established as a non-profit organization, LIVE! UNIVERS in 2002 May. The chairman is Masami Okyudo, Director of Misato Observatory.
For the past projects, please visithttp://www.live-universe.org/ja/project.html.


LIVE! UNIVERSE Public Relations Department: Ishikawa

* Please send the articles on LIVE! UNIVERSE to the following address
LIVE! UNIVERSE Public Relations Department
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©2003 LIVE! UNIVERSE office:info@live-universe.org