February 9, 2010

Worlds In The Sky: A Live Exoplanet Transit Event

To my knowledge, this has never been done before: An actual exoplanet transit, or it's real-time lightcurve will be broadcast live over the internet on Feb. 13, 2010.

The project is called "Worlds of the Sky" which is an International Project for the public observation of an Extrasolar Planet Transit, specifically of XO-3 b. The name of this event, "Worlds of the Sky" was taken from a famous book by Camille Flammarion, the man behind the "Flammarion Woodcut", a recognizable picture that you see often in Astronomy books and magazines.

The event will be broadcast live on the website http://www.crabnebula.it, or at http://www.livestream.com/eantv on February 13, from 7pm onwards. The webcast will allow users around the world to watch the evolution of the light curve of the star XO-3 as the planet passes in front of it, monitored by the 1.34-metre Ruths Telescope of the Brera Observatory in Merate, Italy. The real-time data will be accompanied by comments of astronomers in English, Italian and Chinese.

Please take note that the observatory that is observing XO-3b's transit is located in Italy, so please match your particular timezones. New Yorkers must tune in to the event at around 1pm Eastern Time (EST). Let's hope that the clouds don't get in the way of the telescope for this event because i really would like to see an actual exoplanet transit as it happens, and to see it along with other people simultaneously. And let's hope the servers in Europe allow visits from other parts of the world.

Make sure you plan to view this event with your beloved, because this occurs on the eve of Valentine's Day, which makes the transit of XO-3b even more appropriate! XOXO!