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What happened on Sun-Earth Day?

What happened on Sun-Earth Day?


L'hemispheric theatre in Valencia

To celebrate Sun-Earth Day, 27 - 28 April 2001, special events were organised throughout Europe, the USA and Canada. Reports from many locations confirm that the public, students and the media could enjoy learning something of the science and wonder of ESA's space science programme, imparted to them in their home regions and their own languages. Interest from TV, radio and newspapers amplified the impact in several of the regions.

Special themes for Sun-Earth Day were the forecasting and effects of space weather, and the 5th anniversary of the commissioning of the ESA-NASA SOHO spacecraft in 1996. These subjects were supported not only by materials provided by ESA (models, posters, CD-ROMs etc.) but also by video and Internet links and by local facilities such as solar telescopes, planetaria and IMAX theatres.

Viewing the Sun, New Hampshire, USA.

Enjoying the colouring kit, Sweden

Handing out of Sun-Earth day kits, Porto, Portugal

The planetarium in Hamburg, Germany

ESA and collaborating scientists in the member states will study the reports with a view to achieving a similar success with widespread events on other subjects.

Trieste, Italy

By Mauro Messerotti

A pre-event near Venice on April 20th involved 60 people, mostly amateur astronomers, but also school teachers. In Trieste the event was organized jointly by the Trieste Astronomical Observatory and the Culture and Arts Circle (CCA, Circolo della Cultura e delle Arti'). CCA took care of the press office, which was managed by Mr. M. Bekar, and organized the public conference, which was kindly hosted by the insurance company Riunione Adriatica di Sicurtá  (RAS). In particular, on 27 April, 4 lectures were given in high schools for the students and teachers and 2 lectures in cultural organizations for the public. The event was quite successful, as about 400 people attended the lectures in the schools and more than 100 people attended the public lectures. Most of the illustrative ESA material was distributed to the students and the rest to the public, who all were very much interested in it. The ESA Powerpoint presentation was entirely translated into Italian language by M. Messerotti and distributed to the other Italian colleagues, as a customizable basis for their own lectures. In Trieste this Italian version was distributed to the schools as well.

Media coverage

On 26 April, Prof. Ester Antonucci (Turin Astronomical Observatory) gave an interview to the national scientific TV news TG3 Leonardo, which was broadcast at 14:45. A recording of this interview is available in RealVideo streaming format. Real

On 26 April, the local newspaper of Trieste il Piccolo published an extensive article "Il meteo spaziale? Lo si elabora a Nordest" on the forthcoming event.


On 3 May, the local newspaper il Piccolo published an article "Soho, una spia nel cuore del Sole" on the event and the relevant lectures given on Friday 27 April.

On 4 May, Mauro Messerotti gave an interview to the regional TV news TG3 FVG, which was broadcast at 14:00. A recording of this interview is available in RealVideo streaming format. Real

Attendees at a lecture in S. Maria di Sala given by Dr. Mauro Messerotti

On Sun-Earth Day, 26 April 2001, a lecture was given by Mauro Messerotti at 08:00 at the classic high school Liceo Dante Alighieri, which was attended by 80 students and their teachers

At 10:00 Mauro Messerotti presented his second lecture of the day at the scientific high school Liceo G. Galilei, which was attended by 200 students and their teachers

A lecture was given by Paolo Zlobec (Trieste Astronomical Observaory) at the scientific high school of the Slovenian minority Liceo F. Preseren, which was attended by 40 students and their teachers

A third lecture was delivered by Mauro Messerotti at 12:00 at the technical high school Istituto Tecnico Industriale A. Volta, which was attended by 60 students and their teachers

At 15:30 Mauro Messerotti presented another SOHO lecture, attended by 50 people, at the Universitá della Terza Etá, a cultural organization devoted to organizing courses in different disciplines for elderly people

A public lecture in the boardroom of the `Riunione Adriatica di Sicurtá', attended by 55 people, and organized by the Circolo della Cultura e delle Arti, was delivered at 17:30 by Mauro Messerotti

The President of the Culture and Arts Circle, Mr. Giorgio Tombesi, Honourable Member, addresses the audience at the end of the lecture by M. Messerotti

London Science Museum, United Kingdom

By Jeff Payne and Richard Harrison (CDS team)

The activity took place in the Wellcome Wing of the London Science Museum. It included the IMAX SolarMax movie itself as well as large screens continuously running SOHO movies and captions. We were armed with the ESA handout material (SOHO, Ulysses and Cluster posters and stickers, colouring books and crayons, CD-ROMs, an ESA introduction handout and the press release).

Perhaps the most important part of the display was the 'meet the scientist' aspect. We had scientists from RAL, MSSL and Cambridge. At times we were swamped with visitors and the 7 'discoverers' from RAL, Cambridge , MSSL and the Museum were kept busy, talking, rolling posters and handing out material - at one point we had to restrict the CD handouts as they were going faster than hot cakes. The colouring books & crayons went down a treat, pity the packs did not also include the DIY SOHO cutout model.

Numbers were up significantly on Fridays 100 visitors and we met with people from almost all four corners of the planet, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, USA, Canada, India, Pakistan, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, France, and Italy to mention a few. Plus of course folks from right across the UK, both the old and the young. Even the staff in the cafe were wearing the SOHO stickers! Every one was most interested in what we had to say and many had also taken the opportunity to watch SOLARMAX, instead of the popular CYBERWORLD.

Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

By Shadia Rifai Habbal

Children from Aberystwyth, Wales, studying some SOHO images

Our event was held on Saturday at the Arts Centre of the University of Wales in Aberystwyth. Three monitors were made available to the public to view SOHO images. Two public lectures were given by S. R. Habbal, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. People were astounded by the details in the images of the Sun. The children were particularly absorbed by the displays. About 100 people came through the exhibit area just outside the lecture hall throughout the day. The people on duty were: L. Allen, A. Breen, X. Li and C. Mountford.

Media Coverage

An article entitled "Wind that blows from the Sun" was published in the Cambrian news in Aberyswyth on Thursday 3 May, and the event was covered by BBC Wales and television. Another article appeared in the Daily Post.

Attendees at the Sun-Earth Day event in Aberystwyth, Wales

Fun for all at the Arts Centre of the University of Wales in Aberystwyth

Catania, Italy

By Daniele Spadaro and Francesca Zuccarello

We had a presentation at a high school in Catania, the Liceo Scientifico 'G. Galilei'. We met about three hundred students, used the material provided by ESA and observations of the solar photosphere and chromosphere which are taken daily at the Astrophysical Observatory of Catania. The local Sicilian newspaper announced the event and published two articles about it. Local TV also reported on the event, with an interview with Daniele Spadaro. We distributed all the ESA material and the students were very happy. Thank you very much for this opportunity of co-operation.

Oslo, Norway

By Paal Brekke, SOHO Deputy Project Scientist, ESA

Friday events

We had a large tent outside the old University building in downtown Oslo with computers running SOHO real time images, telescopes, and PR material. Because of the clouds we could not use the telescopes. Five public lectures were given. 300-400 people attended the lectures.

Saturday events

The people on duty (shown in the picture left from right) were solar astronomer Terje Fredvik, Bo Andersen, chairman of ESA's Science Programme Committee, (with daughter Viel) and Paal Brekke, deputy project scientist of SOHO. (Photo courtesy of Rannveig Carlsen)

In connection with Sun-Earth day in Oslo there were special screenings of the SolarMax movie. The Norwegian Space Centre has together with the Astrophysical Institute in Oslo made an exhibition about SOHO, Cluster and the Sun-Earth relationship at the IMAX theatre. A large amount of SOHO material was distributed to the people passing by and even though it was mostly cloudy some breaks in the clouds allowed people to observe the Sun through a small telescope.

Media coverage

There was a report in the Aftenposten (major newspaper in Norway) and several interviews on different radio channels.

Freiburg, Germany

By H. Woehl

Visitors at the exhibition in the planetarium in Freiburg, Germany, 27 April, 2001

We had two special shows entitled
"5 years Solar and Heliospheric Observatory - SOHO - and the secrets of the Sun" in the Freiburg Planetarium on 27 April, 2001, in the afternoon given in the German language by Dr. Martin Federspiel. Posters and the other ESA material were displayed and distributed to interested citizens.

On 1 May, 2001 we held an Open Day in the old solar observatory on the Schauinsland mountain - about 20 km distance from Freiburg. Within the telescope buildings of the Kiepenheuer-Institut fuer Sonnenphysik and those of the Sternfreunde Breisgau e.V. on the same site several guided tours were given by scientists from both institutions. The CD-ROM about SOHO and its results was shown and distributed along with the posters, booklets, colour pencils etc.

Demonstration of the SOHO CD-ROM and distribution of ESA material at the old solar observatory Schauinsland near Freiburg, Germany, on 2 May, 2001

Visitors on the meadows of the old solar observatory Schauinsland near Freiburg, Germany, waiting for the next guided tour (1 May 2001)

Via the two events a total of about 250 citizens were informed at Freiburg and the Schauinsland. There were several articles related to the anniversary of SOHO and our activities in the local newspaper Badische Zeitung on 24 April and 2 May, 2001.

Barcelona, Spain

By Vicente Domingo

The SOHO 5th anniversary and Sun-Earth day were celebrated in Barcelona by presentations of the SolarMax film in the IMAX Port Vell theatre. The film (of 40 minutes duration) was preceded by about 30 minutes explanation on the Sun-Earth relationship and on SOHO. In the IMAX hall four PC}s were running the museum version of the SOHO CD. The 7 minute video was shown continuously on a 4 x 4 metre screen.

A presentation was made to the media on Thursday 26 April. On Friday 27th three sessions with presentations were addressed to secondary school children, and a 4th formal session to invited people, including several University authorities. The presentations and the SolarMax movies were highly successful. About 1500 people attended the sessions in total.

Naples, Italy

By Dr. Thomas Straus

Some of the audience during the presentation on Sun-Earth Day in Naples, Italy

We had a nice day (not perfect for observing) in Naples. A hundred people used the occasion to observe the Sun with our 40 cm telescope, and with a small lens mounted behind our coelostat, and followed the 1 hour presentation done by myself. It was a nice 5 year anniversary, people have been very interested on the amazing pictures and movies in the presentation.

Porto, Portugal

By Ricardo Samuel Reis

The Center for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) was the host of the event in Portugal. It was a success.

The local team at the Sun-Earth Day event in Porto, Portugal. Left to right: Ricardo Reis, Justa, Elsa, Nelma, Jorge and Filipe

In all, we received about 300 people. All the kids loved the kits they got and people were so interested in the Lecture by Mario Joao Monteiro that, when he ran out of time and told the audience they were free to leave, nobody left! The lecture lasted an extra 15 minutes.


Elsa distributing posters and colouring books to some of the children

A little girl viewing SOHO's webpage

A large crowd of children receiving their kits

The exterior exhibit when it was set up

View of the exterior exhibit

Children viewing the Sun with a telescope for the first time

New Hampshire, USA

By Dr. Antoinette Galvin

I am enclosing photos taken at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium (CMP) in Concord, New Hampshire (USA). For Sun-Earth Day and the SOHO 5 Year celebration, UVCS and CELIAS gave SOHO lectures based on your (Paal Brekke) powerpoint presentation and gave out the ESA SOHO kits.

Angela Ciaravella (Harvard-Smithsonian, UVCS), Raid M. Suleiman (Harvard-Smithsonian, UVCS) and Toni Galvin (University of New Hampshire, CELIAS) in front of the SOHO lecture screen at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium

In addition to the lectures, there were several exhibits scattered about the exhibit hall, which gave smaller children (and adults) hands-on experience (for example, seeing light through prisms, etc). The last photo shows a Planetarium volunteer giving out the free materials that were made available by ESA and NASA.

Toni Galvin in front of the lecture screen

The exhibit hall at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium

Please thank ESA for their generosity. I believe the coloring books and pencils were the biggest hit. We estimate that there were about 336 visitors for Sun-Earth Day 2001, between 2-7 p.m.


Hands-on light exhibit: white light, black light. (Photo courtesy of Judy King)

Lecture outside in the Sun at Christa McAuliffe Planetarium. (Photo courtesy of Judy King)

Lecture outside in the Sun at Christa McAuliffe Planetarium. Note the child with face painting of the Sun. (Photo courtesy of Judy King)

Watching the 'big sunspot group' through a solar telescope. (Photo courtesy of Judy King)


Hamburg, Germany

By Dr. Volker Bothmer

About 1500 people visited the Sun-Earth-Connection Days (SEC) at Planetarium Hamburg (, Germany, from 27 to 29 April 2001 and to celebrate SOHO's 5th year anniversary. Videos and lectures about the Sun, the Sun-Earth connection and about storms produced by stars in our universe were presented to the public as well as SOHO real-time images.

The Max-Planck-Institute for Aeronomie (MPAe), Germany, (, presented a SEC-exhibition including models of the SOHO spacecraft and of SOHO's SUMER telescope and distributed brochures. The event was reported in the press and by local radio stations.

Planetarium Hamburg, Germany

The SOHO exhibition in Hamburg was visited by more than 5000 visitors in the last 10 days

On Friday afternoon, a special Web-Chat about the SEC-theme was organized in collaboration with "" and followed in the evening by a videoconference with Dr. B. Fleck, ESA's SOHO project scientist at the SOHO operation facility at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, MD, USA.

Almost two thousand SOHO, Ulysses and Cluster posters and stickers were distributed to the public, especially to teachers and school classes. The younger kids greatly appreciated the colour pencils and ESA painting books. The material was kindly provided by ESA. The event was organised by T. Kraupe (Dir. Planet. Hamburg) and Dr. V. Bothmer (MPAe).


Madrid, Spain

By Prof. J. Sequeiros

Planetario de Madrid - the location for a Sun-Earth Day lecture

On 26th April at 20:00 a conference titled "El Observatorio Solar SOHO: Una nueva visión del Sol" (The Solar Observatory SOHO: A new view of the Sun) was delivered in the projection dome at the Madrid Planetarium by Prof. Juan Sequeiros of the University of Alcala, co-investigator in the COSTEP energetic particle experiment onboard SOHO.

The talk addressed three main topics:

  • SOHO Mission overview
  • SOHO main achievements
  • Spanish participation in the COSTEP solar particle experiment and its implications for the Solar-Terrestrial Environment.

The conference lasted 1 hour 15 minutes and was illustrated with slides and video. Over 150 attended with interest and over 20 minutes were dedicate to answer questions. At the entrance ESA PR Kits (CD's, posters, stickers etc.) were distributed. Press Kits were delivered to the University Press Office and an interview was given by Prof. Sequeiros to EFE News Agency.

Palermo, Italy

By Dr. Fabio Reale

A public lecture entitled 'Exploring the Sun' was held at the Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche & Astronomiche, Universitá di Palermo, on 27 April 2001

The Sun-Earth-day/SOHO 5 years have been celebrated in Palermo, Italy, with a public conference 'Esplorando il Sole' (Exploring the Sun) at the Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche & Astronomiche dell'Universitá di Palermo on 27 April, at 4pm, local time.

The lecturers were Prof. Giovanni Peres, teacher of Astrophysics at Palermo University, who made a general introduction about the Sun, Dr. Fabio Reale, locally responsible for SOHO research, who spoke about the SOHO mission and its results, and Prof. Salvatore Serio, Director of the Palermo Astronomical Observatory, who spoke about Space Weather.

PR material was distributed to the participants at the end of the conference.

Some of the audience at the public lecture on 'Exploring the Sun'

PR material was distributed to the participants at the end of the conference

Vantaa, Finland

By Ullamaija Kankainen

Professor Hannu Koskinen giving a lecture on 'Our changing vision of the Sun'

The Sun-Earth Day celebration at the Finnish Meteorological Institute was a great success. A large number of students, amateur astronomers and space enthusiasts came to meet scientists, and discover more about the latest results of SOHO research. We had scientists giving popular lectures on the findings of SOHO's SWAN instrument, including themes of interstellar clouds, space weather and comets.

By Dr. Eino Valtonen and Sini Paananen

The University of Turku arranged the Sun-Earth Day/SOHO 5-year celebration at the Heureka Science Centre in Vantaa, near Helsinki. This site was selected in order to catch in the best possible way the interest and participation of the wide public. Two lectures were given, on Friday, 27 April and on Saturday, 28 April.

The lectures were based on the excellent material provided by the SOHO Project Scientist Team. However, in order to make it more easily understandable to all the visitors of the science centre, the presented material was translated into Finnish.

The audience consisted mostly of young students, but also adults were well represented. As a special feature of the events, the Soviet cosmonaut number 4, Mr. Pavel Popovits, described his experiences as a human in space.

Greifswald, Germany

By Dr. Frank Jansen

At the Max-Planck-Institute for Plasmaphysics (IPP) in Greifswald - where the terrestrial fusion will be demonstrated by the "Wendelstein 7 X" in several years, SOHO showed how solar fusion worked already.

Prof. F. Wagner, Director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Plasmaphysics, during the '5th anniversary of SOHO' event

Prof. M.C.E. Huber ESA/HQ opened the ESA 2000 Space Science Exhibition (with more than 100 panels about the missions and projects within Horizon 2000 and Horizon 2000+ and 8 spacecraft models including SOHO, Ulysses, Cluster and ISO) and demonstrated the new SOHO presentation.

Opening speeches were given by Prof. F. Wagner, Director of the IPP, Dr. M. Dube from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture in Schwerin (capital of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern federal state), Dr. T. Meyer, President of the City of Greifswald, and Prof. R. Hippler for the University of Greifswald. Dr. F. Jansen author of "ESA 2000" (and project leader of the Space Weather Observatory of the University of Greifswald) showed about 100 visitors the different panels and spacecraft.

Martin Huber and Frank Jansen gave interviews to TV like NDR regional. The newspaper Ostsee-Zeitung was there and will write an article about 5 years of SOHO and "ESA 2000".

Martin Huber during the '5th anniversary of SOHO' celebration

Frank Jansen during the opening of the 'ESA 2000' Space Science Exhibition

Just during the presentation of Martin Huber - as he showed the slides and explained the space weather effect on terrestrial weather - a strong thunderstorm started!!!

Berlin, Germany

By Dr. Frank Jansen

Dr. Schühle from the Max-Planck-Institute for Aeronomie gave the SOHO presentation. He was interviewed by Deutschland Radio Berlin. Radio 100.6 Berlin gave information about the event in the Archenhold-Sternwarte. 30 visitors came into the Archenhold-Sternwarte Berlin.

Dr. Schühle's presentation in the Archenhold-Sternwarte Berlin

Visitors during the '5 years of SOHO' event in the Archenhold-Sternwarte Berlin

Brussels, Belgium

By Frederic Clette

Our local Belgian event, although limited in scale, can be considered a success. On Friday 27 April, as planned, during the whole day, we held a space weather science workshop, which was the occasion of a first general gathering of research teams in Belgium, Holland and France, that now participate in a joint co-ordinated project. There were 25 participants, with presentations ranging from "hard" theoretical modelling up to operational software monitoring (SIDC, Brussels).

For more details about the agenda, visit:

All participants agreed that this meeting was a success and contributed to tighten the links between the different teams. However, we also all came to the conclusion that theoreticians and observers were working in different rather disconnected worlds. So, for sure, the prime topic of the next meeting will be to identify a common goal, where models will be developed to better use the available data (like SOHO daily images) and to provide an output that can be used as a real-time predictive tool in place of the current largely empirical methods.

Now regarding the public event, we planned a public lecture at Brussels' planetarium. There were other important events on that day (in particular in Flanders) so we had only weak coverage by the press (a few short articles; one or two interviews, of which a live interview on the French-speaking radio RTBF at lunchtime on Friday, which probably had the largest impact). To 'bypass' the press, we also directly contacted associations of amateur astronomers and posted an announcement on our Web site (

The French-language talk was attended by more than 40 interested people. One science journalist from one of the main newspapers (La Libre Belgique) and representatives of the Belgian OSTC (Ministry of Science Policy) were also present. I had to answer many questions (for about one hour!), in particular about the long-term solar influence on Earth's climate, and I got many positive if not enthusiastic comments. As was suggested by several colleagues, my talk might serve as the basis for Web pages, for future public lectures and for an open-doors event organized by the OSTC later this year about space-related science in Belgium.

Overall, this event will certainly have an impact beyond the symbolic date of this SOHO anniversary.

Valencia, Spain

By Vicente Domingo

The spectacular setting of L'hemispheric theatre was the setting for Sun-Earth Day and 5th anniversary of SOHO celebrations in Valencia, Spain

The SOHO 5th aniversary and Sun-Earth day were celebrated in Valencia by presentations of the SolarMax film in L'hemisferic theater. The film (of 40 min duration) was preceded by about 30 minutes explanation on the Sun-Earth relation and on SOHO, and followed by an open questions period. In the hall of L'hemisferic two PC's were running the museum version of the SOHO CD. A wall monitor was presenting the 7 minutes video in a continuous manner.

Three sessions took place. One on Wednesday, 2 y, at 20:00 hours, and two on Friday, 4 May, at 20:00 and 21:00. To the first session on Friday the high school teachers were particularly invited. The media were in the first session, and an interview was shown on the main news by Antena 3, one of the three private national TV companies. For the Friday sessions there was more demand than seats available. People were very receptive and a vivid questions period followed each presentation. Since the capacity of the theatre is 306, the estimate total attendance is 800.

Washington DC, USA

By Don Michels

A very successful event was held at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC (USA) on both Friday and Saturday April 28-29. Near real-time SOHO images of the Sun and solar corona were shown in conjunction with a 1/4 scale model of the SOHO spacecraft. This generated interest all day long with probably thousands of people visiting the SOHO exhibit. Over both days, 500 CD-Roms, over 500 posters, and numerous coloring books were distributed. We could have distributed more but supplies ran out.

Participants (all from the US Naval Research Labs - LASCO TEAM) were Doug Biesecker, Russ Howard, Gareth Lawrence, Don Michels (lead coordinator), Heather Norton, Simon Plunkett, Dennis Socker and Alex Young.

Part of the display for the SOHO 5th Anniversary event at Washington, DC (USA)

Some of the participants at the Sun-Earth Day and 5th Anniversary of SOHO event in Washington, DC (USA)

New Concord, Ohio, USA

By Bogdan Valcu

A poster display outside the auditorium of the Boyd Science Center at Muskingum College

The presentation took place on Friday at 3:00 p.m in the Large Auditorium of the Boyd Science Center at Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio, USA. Both students and faculty members were present; overall about 200 participants. Three members of the press were also present, and two articles appeared in the local newspapers the following days. The presentation was also publicized in the Muskingum College Alumni magazine.

The materials from ESA were well received by everybody. Thank you for your help in organizing this event.

'5 Years of SOHO' at Muskingum College

Bogdan Valcu at the '5 years of SOHO' celebration, Muskingum College


By Frederic Baudin

At the science museum, Cite des Sciences, a series of lectures was given from Tuesday 24 to Saturday 28 April:

  • S. Koutchmy - "The Bastille day flare"
  • M. Pick - "A dynamic corona"
  • S. Turck-Chieze - "The Sun's interior"
  • J.P. Delaboudiniere - "The SOHO recovery"
  • P. Lamy - "Permanent solar eclipse from SOHO"
  • G. Thuillier - "The Sun and the Earth climate")
  • A. Gabriel and JP Zahn - "A new view of the Sun with SOHO"

An exhibit was on stage for a duration of 1 month (3 April to 6 May) showing a SOHO model (thanks to ESTEC), posters about solar physics explained to a large public, the qualification model of GOLF, permanently updated images of SOHO. Unfortunately, the anticipated projection of the SOHO movie could not take place.

Public lectures were given by J.L. Bertaux and M. Janvier at the "Cite de l'Espace"; about 250 people attended. A SOHO model was displayed, in coordination with Astrium.

Media coverage

We have seen articles in Le Monde (22 April, citing the ESA website), in Le Figaro (30 April), France-Soir (28 April), and the events were announced in magazines L'astronomie and Ciel et Espace.

The Netherlands

By Ton Spaninks

Many worldwide activities were organised to celebrate 5 years of SOHO operations. In the Netherlands the celebration consisted of organising several lectures with modern solar investigations as the theme. The activities were added to the list of activities which are organised with the NVWS (Dutch Association for weather and astronomy).

Around Sun-Earth Day, April 27, there were lectures organised for public, students and amateurs. In the following overview you can see which organisations participated and how many visitors they had:

visitors SOHO-day




gathering for amateurs Roden

Maarten van Aalst


obs. Phillipus Lansbergen

Jelle de Plaa


obs. Copernicus

Thijs Krijger


de Schothorst

Michiel Brentjes


obs. Leiden

Richard Marsden


the Planetron

Maarten van Aalst



Rob Rutten


workgroup Sun

Maarten van Aalst


One remark: de Schothorst had problems related to a cattle disease (foot and mouth disease) in their area. Only a few days before the lecture would be held did they know if they could organise the event.

Children enjoying Sun-Earth Day activities at the Philippus Landsbergen Observatory in Middelburg.

Publicity was an overall problem to all organisations. The media had many articles about Queens Day (a national holiday in the Netherlands which is celebrated on April 30) and members of the royal family and the activity was held at the start of a short national vacation week.

Visitors were very enthusiastic. Not least because of the lecturers. They gave enthusiastic and good lectures and they were able to show very nice material. The material meant for the public was very nice and many visitors were very glad with posters, CD's and other material. The observatory Phillipus Lansbergen even organised special activities for children.

In short the activity was a success and may surely be repeated in the future.

Maarten van Aals during his lecture to 60 amateur astronomers at Roden

Rob Rutten, wearing the checked shirt, presenting a lecture on Sun-Earth Day at the Mill-Hill college in Goirle

Canary Islands

By Pere L. Pallé

The Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the Department of Astrohphysics, University of La Laguna, organised a series of events to mark Sun-Earth Day. Each of the schools and institutes of the Archipelago (about 1,500) received in one way or another information and material related to this event. The translated explanatory material was sent to the 120 Teacher Coordination Centers, or directly given to those teachers who attended the ad-hoc meeting held in Tenerife. It was also available at the specific IAC web site. The schools sited on the minor islands of the Archipelago (La Gomera, el Hierro, La Palma, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote) directly received samples of the posters included in the ESA-NASA package.

The ESA-NASA material was classified and several 'standard packs' were made, each one wrapped in an IAC plastic bag. These bags were distributed during the talks given on the 27th as well as at the Observatorio del Teide during the 'Open Day'. No material was left over!!! For pictures about the Sun-Earth Day event in the Observatorio del Teide see

Live images of the Sun were displayed and explained at the Museo de la Ciencia y el Cosmos. Although the day was cloudy in La Laguna, sporadic observations of the Sun were possible. More than 400 scholars took part of the activity. For pictures about the Sun-Earth Day in the Museo de la Ciencia y el Cosmos see

Talks on 27 April: from the 10 talks scheduled for that day, 8 of them were given at different places. Except for Gran Canaria (where the number of people present reached about one hundred), at the rest of the places the number of attendees was of the order of 20 or 30.

An Open Day was held at the Observatorio del Teide to visit the battery of solar telescopes: THEMIS, VTT and GCT. The Laboratorio Solar was open for guided tours. On that day there were 2475 visitors.

Media coverage

There was coverage in 28 papers (up to 29 April), 13 radio interviews, 9 interviews on TV and 1 special radio program.

Lund, Sweden

Tomas Brage watches as his daughter enjoys colouring in the ESA SOHO colouring book

Sun-Earth Day at Lund, Sweden commenced with a public lecture entitled "The new Sun as seen by SOHO" which was given by Hendrik Lundstedt on Friday 27 April at 20.15. The lecture was followed by poster presentations, computer demonstrations and video shows. Food and beverages were provided for all attendees. The Sun-Earth Day activities continued on saturday, beginning at 3pm and ending at 6pm. Activities were also held at Malmö and Kiruna.

Henrik Lundstedt (left) uses a coffee cup to describe the auroral oval above Earth during a discussion about geomagnetically induced currents with Peter Sigenstam (middle), a representative of the Swedish Power company Sydkraft, and Fredrik Boberg (Ph.D student)

ESA SOHO posters displayed outside the lecture hall at the Physics Department of Lund University, the location of Sun-Earth Day public lectures

Firenze, Italy

On 27 April, 2001, the Sun-Earth Day, several lectures were given in the high schools of Firenze. The topic of the lecture was the celebration of the 5th anniversary of the SOHO mission, and an introduction to the Sun as seen from space through the images and the movies of SOHO, and its effects on planet Earth.

The schools Licei Scientifici "Leonardo Da Vinci", "G. Castelnuovo", "A. Gramsci", "N. Rodolico" in Firenze, "Russell-Newton" in Scandicci, and Licei Classici "G. Galilei" and "N. Machiavelli", enthusiastically promoted the event among their last classes. The lectures made use of the ESA presentation that had been translated into Italian by M.Messerotti and re-adapted for a one hour presentation in the high schools by M.Romoli. Thanks to the collaboration of the solar physicists of the Dep. Of Astronomy of the Univ. of Firenze (M. Romoli, F. Drago, C. Chiuderi, G. Noci, A. Righini, R. Falciani, G. Cauzzi, L. Del Zanna, L. Maccari), and of the Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri (G. Poletto), it was possible to support the numerous events. The success of the lectures is due to the amazing pictures and movies of the presentation, that show a new aspect of the Sun, most of which were new to the students and the general public, and also due to the description of the interaction Sun-Earth with the aurora images and the impact of solar energetic events on everyday life on Earth. The ESA material was very appreciated and ran out quickly, posters of the mission, and the CD-ROMs were requested, but also the colorbooks and the color pencils for the youngest. The schools kept the ESA CD-ROM and asked for the Italian version of the ESA presentation for educational purposes.

Two public lectures were also given by M. Romoli, one in Firenze at the Teatro Le Laudi on 27 April, and one in Prato at the Centro di Scienze Naturali di Galceti on 4 May. Among the public in Firenze, several people from Officine Galileo, the company that built most of the mechanisms of the SOHO/UVCS instruments, and in Prato the amateur astronomical club "Gruppo Astrofilo Quasar", who complimented for the presentation. There is to say that for the lecture in Prato, we had to compete with a rock concert, the closing day of the Italian national elections campaign, and, worst of all, the football match in Firenze between Fiorentina and Juventus, one of the most important sport events in town.

We had little luck in advertising the event with the media and the media coverage was limited to an article in the Firenze's local newspaper La Gazzetta di Firenze.

Sun-Earth Day with the UVCS group

The audience at a UVCS presentation on Sun-Earth Day

Children from the Cummings School view the Sun in safety with a Sunspotter

The Ultraviolet Coronagraph Spectrometer (UVCS) group at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory made presentations at 10 locations in the United States and Canada. Activities and lectures were given by 16 scientists associated the UVCS at three science museums or planetariums, three K-12 schools, and four colleges or universities. Event locations included the Museum of Science (Boston), Macmillan Space Center (Vancouver), and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Cambridge). Individual reports are listed at

Last Update: 1 September 2019
28-Feb-2024 06:47 UT

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