LIVE! ECLIPSE 2003 Press Release
Oct 24, 2003

LIVE! UNIVERSE challenges the first webcast of the total solar eclipse from the Antarctic
-- The official site opens on November 3The main contents is the travel journal of the observation party --

Non-profit organization LIVE! UNIVERSE (Ohta Ward, Tokyo. The Chairman is Masami Okyudo http://www.live-universe.org/), which relays astronomical phenomena via various networks, conducts the project "LIVE! ECLIPSE 2003" which webcasts the total solar eclipse that will be observed in the Antarctic in the morning on November 24 (JST). The official web site http://www.live-eclipse.org/ is planned to open on November 3rd. This is the first observation of the total solar eclipse from the Antarctic since human beings made a base facility in the Antarctic. Besides, this is the first challenge to webcast the total solar eclipse from the Antarctic.

This observation party member to the Antarctic is Yuichi Ichikawa only. He will leave Japan at the beginning of November by air, then take ship from South Africa to the observation point. The observation point is Sackleton Ice Shelf. Before getting to the observation point, he will visit the base facility in the Antarctic and several islands, then send reports on the natural environment and interviews to the people on the same ship. He will use e-mails to send photographs, journals, and voices.

On the total solar eclipse day, 3 video cameras including the professional-use video camera (Panasonic AGV-DVX100 http://panasonic.jp/dvc/) will be set and the images will be sent to Tokyo from PC via INMARSAT*.

On the official site of LIVE! ECLIPSE 2003, the following contents will be created. The main theme is to think on the earth from the perspective of the Antarctic environment. The web site contents are as follows:

1) Report from the observation party (current position, travel journal, interviews on the ice vessel or in the base facility, etc.)
2) Information on the Antarctic (Basic information and history of the Antarctic. Environmental problem, etc. Weekly uploaded contents. Total of 3 series.)
3) Information on solar eclipses (Basic information on solar eclipses, simulation of this total solar eclipse, etc.)
4) Information about webcast (Live program. On the eclipse day, the temperature, illuminance and barometric pressure information will be uploaded, as well as the live images.)

Not only the images of the eclipse day, but the travel journal of the life on the ship and the reports of other islands which the observation party steps by during the voyage to the Antarctic will be uploaded. On the webcast day, we are planning to construct a system which can send the environmental information such as temperature, illuminance and barometric pressure in real time. We are going to create a multi-content page of various information. The simulation of total solar eclipse will also progress in real time. The count down meter will be displayed in the simulation page, so the site viewer can enjoy the upcoming total solar eclipse by comparing with the real webcast image. Also, there will be a simulation program of the moon shadow seen from the sky above the Antarctic. The site viewers can see how big and how fast the moon shadow moves across the vast Antarctic. We are going to present other inspiring simulations of various aspects.

For the contents creation, students of Wakayama University and Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts collaborated. The collaboration report will also be uploaded as one of the contents. As before, the web sites will be provided in Japanese and English to entertain the world and will be updated as required.

As a new challenge of LIVE! UNIVERSE, the live program and web page will be linked. On the webcast day, November 24 (Monday. National Holiday), the webcast begins around 6 o'clock in the morning (JST). When the eclipse begins around 6:40 (JST), talk-program by the members of LIVE! UNIVERSE also begins. In the talk-program, LIVE! UNIVERSE explains how to enjoy the web contents, the current condition of the observation party, and how to read the environmental data such as the illuminance.

On the webcast day, the images and voices are sent from the Antarctic to the distribution center Panasonic Center (Ariake, Koto Ward) via INMARSAT or Iridium*. From the Antarctic, IP connection to Tokyo will be secured via satellite networks through Cisco Systems compact built-in router "Cisco 3200 Mobile Access Router"*. The live program will be distributed to the house through streaming media. The stream from the Panasonic Center is sent to the core sever through "Broadband Access" (http://www.ntt.com/bba/) presented by NTT Communications. Then the stream is load balanced by Cisco Systems "Multilayer Modular Switch Catalyst 6500" and its built-in service module Content Switching Module*, and redistributed to the distribution companies to respond to the large access.

The second observation party of LIVE! UNIVERSE will take images of the total solar eclipse from airplane, and upload the images to the web site in the evening of November 24th (JST).

The next press release will be sent out in the middle of November.

*INMARSAT: International Mobile Satellite Organization. Provides the communication service with Mobile Earth Station, such as marine vessels, by utilizing four fixed satellites in 36,000 km above the equator. The four satellites are located above the equator of the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Atlantic Ocean (West and East) and cover almost the whole world.
*Iridium: Satellite phone communication system which utilizes the orbiting satellite.
*Cisco Systems compact built-in router "Cisco 3200 Mobile Access Router"
Cisco Systems "Multilayer Modular Switch Catalyst 6500"
*Content Switching Module

[ About the total solar eclipse in the Antarctic ]
A total solar eclipse is the phenomena when the sun is completely hidden behind the moon. When the sun and the moon cross over each other, a little light leaked around the moon makes wonderful "Diamond Ring", and pearl-colored "Corona" which spreads around the sun.This year, the total solar eclipse can bee seen from the Antarctic region for almost 2 minutes on the night of November 24 (UT). As the total solar eclipse occurs mainly in the daytime, this total solar eclipse of the midnight sun is very interesting. Besides, as the eclipse occurs in polar region, we can see the eclipsed sun sweeps just above the horizon. There was a total solar eclipse in 1985, but there is no observation record. The next total solar eclipse will occur in 2021.

LIVE! UNIVERSE is a non-profit organization, which broadcasts astronomical phenomena such as solar eclipse via the Internet from all over the world. The web sites are always provided in Japanese and English, and have presented astronomical phenomenon to the world as entertainment events. The main backbone is the large scale networks of individual volunteers and industry-government-academia organizations. The web contents are used in distance learning at school education or astronomical observatories. Webcasting has been performed as LIVE! ECLIPSE Executive Committee and LIVE! LEONIDS Executive Committee since 1997. These two executive committees were integrated and established as LIVE! UNIVERSE in 2002 May. The chairman is Masami Okyudo, Professor of Wakayama University Student Center for Independent Research in the Sciences (Former Director of Misato Observatory).
For the past projects, please visit http://www.live-universe.org/en/project.html.
General Information: info@live-universe.org
Information for the press:
LIVE! UNIVERSE Public Relations Department: Ishikawa
FAX.03-5384-7586 press@live-universe.org

©2003 LIVE! UNIVERSE office:info@live-universe.org