December 04th, 2016
This immersive 360-degree video lets you join in a planetary observing trip using some of the world's best telescopes in Hawaii.
To view on a regular screen, you can click and drag in the video frame to look in any direction. (May not work on all browsers!). For an immersive experience, view the video using a virtual reality headset, such as Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard viewer.
In this video, we join an observing trip to Hawaii, with Colin Wilson (Oxford University) and colleagues Dr Thomas Widemann and Dr. Thérèse Encrenaz (Paris Observatory) and Pedro Machado (CAAUL, Lisbon). They are using two adjacent telescopes at the summit of Mauna Kea – The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and NASA’s Infra-Red Telescope Facility – to measure winds and sulphur dioxide abundances on Venus. The only natural source of sulphur dioxide on Earth is volcanism, so its presence on Venus suggests current or recent volcanic activity on Venus. The amount of sulphur dioxide observed in Venus’s atmosphere is highly variable, which may indicate current, rather than recent, volcanic eruptions - but the sulphur dioxide abundances are affected by weather patterns. By measuring winds and sulphur dioxide concentrations at the same time, EuroVenus resiearchers are trying to pin down these elusive traces of volcanic activity, to ascertain whether our neighbouring planet is geologically alive or dead.
The 360 - degree video has proved particular popular as a public outreach tool when viewed with a VR headset.
Many thanks to Emmanuel Rondeau and Julien Coquet at White Fox Pictures for the production of this 360-degree video - and of course also to the many dedicated staff members at the CFHT and IRTF observatories who keep these incredible facilities running.