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LIVE! ECLIPSE 2003 Press Release
November 24, 2003, 17:00 Flash Report


LIVE! UNIVERSE webcasted the total solar eclipse from the Antarctica
Successful live webcast and technology experiments - but the weather was cloudy. Video images from the airplane will be distributed in VOD

http://www.live-eclipse.org/

Non-profit organization LIVE! UNIVERSE (The Office is in Ohta Ward, Tokyo. The Chairman is Masami Okyudo http://www.live-universe.org/), which relays astronomical phenomena via various networks, conducted the project "LIVE! ECLIPSE 2003" and webcasted the total solar eclipse from the Antarctica. The webcast was from 6:44 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. (JST) on November 24.

The observation / relay point was scheduled to be Shackleton Ice Shelf, but changed to the other place (at latitude 65' 55.51 south and longitude 89' 16.03" east) because the condition such as the weather was better there. The webcast seemed to be impossible because the signal from the INMARSAT terminal brought from Japan was weak. However, by removing the antenna and setting it to the higher position to strengthen the signal, the video transmitting test from the Antarctica succeeded at shortly after 2:00 a.m. A cheer arose from the staffs in the distribution center and the expectations to the successful webcast got higher. The video images from the Antarctica was received in the distribution center Panasonic Center (Ariake, Koto Ward, Tokyo), and the sun shining above the ice was observed. The distribution of the live image to houses began at 6:44 a.m. (JST), 44 minutes later than the scheduled time, and the commentary program began at 6:50 a.m. (JST), !
10 minutes later than the scheduled time. Around 7 o'clock, clouds began to grow. At 7:37, it became dark totally and began to brighten at 7:39. Unfortunately, the sun was covered with clouds at the total solar eclipse moment, and we could not get the scene as a video image.

Mr. Yuichi Ichikawa (Director of LIVE! UNIVERSE. Belongs to Japan Communication Equipment Co., Ltd.), who conducted this webcast alone made a following remark: I could see the corona through clouds by the naked eyes. It's really too bad that I cannot show this to you. It was very impressive that penguins seemed to be surprised at the total solar eclipse and dived into the sea one after another. On the system, it was hard to control photographing the magnified image of the sun because the equatorial telescope was out of order. I began to feel comfortable to live on the ship and I gained the confidence that I will be able to manage the webcast of the next total solar eclipse in 2003 which can be seen from the sea only.

On our first trial to link the flash contents and web communication, the link system itself was successful though the start time of the distribution was late for 44 minutes. Besides, transmission of the environmental data, such as luminance and temperature, was also succeeded. On the BBS in the web page, we got a lot of feedback; there were 700 messages in 3 hours. We got messages like these; "It was regretful that it was cloudy at the total solar eclipse moment. However, the talk in the commentary program was fun." "It gave me the sense of presence when the surface of the ground darkened totally." "I could enjoy twice with the web and TV."

In this webcast, LIVE! UNIVERSE made a transmission experiment of high-quality image, MPEG-HD and DV-Over IP. The company which participated in the joint experiment made a following remark: We could receive stable clear image and audio throughout the whole webcast of LIVE! UNIVERSE through the experiment of HD distribution. Besides, as the structure is simple centering on STB and it does not require complex equipment for viewers, we ourselves could enjoy the program just as the viewers, without regarding it as an experiment. It was a worthwhile experiment from which we found that this could be one of future audio-video environments with the expanding broad band networks of these days.

As we did not use the multi-cast technology in the previous project LIVE! ECLIPSE 2002, the quality of the transmitted image through several conversions of DV-IP and IP-DV was unsatisfactory than expected. Therefore, in this webcast, we used multi-cast technology so that there was no conversion and the HDTV-quality transmission enabled us to receive very high-quality video and audio. There were only slight disturbance of audio and video due to the bit error; only a slight video disturbance once in several minutes. This may be due to the performance of the router set for receiving the multi-cast data in PC-base than the quality of CODEC. We can expect the higher quality video if we use the high-quality router or by other means.

Total access number during the webcast (from 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. (JST) on November 24) reached 7,760,000, and exceeded the expectation, 6,000,000. The peak of the simultaneous access was 10,000 at 7:39 a.m. (JST), almost as expected.

The Chairman of LIVE! UNIVERSE, Mr. Masami Okyudo made the following remark on this webcast project of the total solar eclipse from the Antarctica:
The first webcast from the Antarctica for human beings was over. For LIVE! UNIVERSE, this webcast was from the last remaining continent. Unfortunately, we could not webcast the climax, the corona during the total solar eclipse and the diamond ring before and after the total solar eclipse, due to clouds. However, we got the report that the corona could be seen through clouds at the observation point. This was the very first observation of the total solar eclipse in the Antarctica for human beings. In the wide-field video which we adopted for the first time, we could catch the sudden change of the brightness before and after the total solar eclipse. This was very valuable image to understand that the observation point entered in the moon shadow. This was a great experience that will help the webcast of solar eclipses in the future. There will be no solar eclipse next year, but a rare phenomenon that the Venus transits the surface of the sun occurs. LIVE! UNIVERSE will webcast ! this phenomenon.

By the way, video taken from the airplane which flew to the Antarctica will be distributed as VOD in the web page at night of November 24.

This project was too big to be supported by the group's members' fees only because it was from such a special location as the Antarctica. This project was realized with the support of many companies, organizations and persons in the fields of finance, technology, equipment and distribution. The sponsors and the supporters are as follows.

[Sponsors]
•Cisco Systems K.K.
•SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.
•Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
•Mitsubishi Electric BB Science Site [DSPACE]

[Gathering Information]
•IIJ Media Communications Inc.
•Cisco Systems K.K.
•Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
[Encoding]
•IIJ Media Communications Inc.
•Apple Japan, Inc.
•Digital Processing Systems Japan K.K.
•Nihon University Center for Information Networking
[Web Hosting]
•IIJ Media Communications Inc.
•Internet Initiative Japan Inc.
•Araki Laboratory, Computing and Communications Center, Kyushu University
•Information Technology Center, The University of Tokyo
[Request Routing Technology]
•Intec Netcore Inc.
•Cisco Systems K.K.
•Faculty of Information Science, Kyushu Sangyo University
•Araki Laboratory, Computing and Communications Center, Kyushu University
[Streaming]
•IIJ Media Communications Inc.
•Anritsu Corporation
•Internet Research Institute, Inc.
•NTT Communications Corporation
•NTT Smart Connect Corporation
•NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE WEST CORPORATION
•Global Solution K.K.
•Cyber Kansai Project
•Matsushita Electric Industrial Panasonic hi-ho
•Broadband Exchange, Inc.
[High Quality Movie Transfer over IP]
•NTT Communications Corporation
•NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE WEST CORPORATION
•NTT Smart Connect Corporation
•Kochi University of Technology
•Cyber Kansai Project
•Regional Internet BackBone (RIBB)
•Telecommunication Advancement Organization of Japan
•Broadband Exchange, Inc.
•Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
[Network Equipments, Technology]
•Apple Japan, Inc.
•Anritsu Corporation
•Internet Research Institute, Inc.
•NEC Corporation
•NTT Communications Corporation
•NTT Smart Connect Corporation
•NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE WEST CORPORATION
•Content Routing Network Forum
•Cyber Kansai Project
•Cisco Systems K.K.
•Hewlett-Packard Japan, Ltd.
•Net One Systems Co., Ltd.
•PFU LIMITED
•Fujitsu Laboratories, Limited
•Broadband Exchange, Inc.
•Realnetworks, Inc.
[Image Taking]
•Japan Communications Equipment Co., Ltd.
•Fuji Photo Film CO, LTD.
•Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. Panasonic AVC Networks Company
•MARINEART CO., LTD.
[Image Taking Technology]
•Information Technology Center, The University of Tokyo
•Nihon University Center for Information Networking
•Japan Communications Equipment Co., Ltd.
[Image Editing]
•Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
•Nihon University Center for Information Networking
[Web Contents]
•AOKI, Makiko
•Info-Star
•Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts
•HIRUTA, Sunao, Blue-sun.jp
•Wakayama University
[Public relations]
•Info-Star
•Incorporated Company Will
[Music]
•HUGE (URUSHIBATA, Haruchika)
[Special Thanks]
•IIA, Inc.
•Accelia Inc.
•Japan Airlines Company, LTD.
•Nakamura Scientific Co., Ltd.
•Communications Research Laboratory
•Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. Panasonic Center

[ About the total solar eclipse in the Antarctica ]
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. Total solar eclipses occurred 6 times in the past 100 years in the Antarctica; in 1903, 1910, 1921, 1939, 1959, and 1985. However, there is no record of them. Therefore, this observation can be said to be the first for human beings. The next total solar eclipse in the Antarctica will occur in 2021.

[ About LIVE! UNIVERSE ]
http://www.live-eclipse.org/
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 more than 2 languages including Japanese and English, and have presented astronomical phenomena to the world as one of the entertainments. 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/ja/project.html.

General Information: info@live-universe.org

Information for the press:
LIVE! UNIVERSE Public Relations Department: Ishikawa
TEL.070-5990-9194 090-6305-3626 FAX.03-5384-7586 press@live-universe.org

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