The program is presented by then non-profit organization LIVE! UNIVERSE
(Ohta Ward, Tokyo. The Chairman is Masami Okyudo. The website is, which relays astronomical phenomena via
various networks, including 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

opened on November 3rd. This is the first observation of a total solar
eclipse from the Antarctic since human beings made a base facility in
the Antarctic. Besides, this is the first attempt to webcast a total
solar eclipse from the Antarctic.

This program’s observation party member in the Antarctic is Yuichi
Ichikawa. He left Japan at the beginning of November by air, then
took a ship from South Africa for 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-mail to send photographs,
journals, and voice recordings.

On the total solar eclipse day, three video cameras including the
professional-use model (Panasonic AGV-DVX100
will be used and the images will be sent to Tokyo from PC via INMARSAT*.

On the official site of LIVE! ECLIPSE 2003, the following content will be
created. The main theme is to think of 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 problems, 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 to the web site, as well as the live images of the total
eclipse of the sun.)

Not only the images of the eclipse day, but the travel journal of the
life on the ship and the reports of other islands where the observation
party will stop 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 the total solar eclipse
will also progress in real time. The count down meter will be displayed
on the simulation page, so the site viewer can enjoy the upcoming total
solar eclipse by comparing the simulation 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 part of the website contents.

Websites will be provided in both Japanese and English
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 to 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=UT+9).
When the eclipse begins around 6:40 (JST=UT+9), the “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 will be 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 a Cisco Systems compact built-in
router “Cisco 3200 Mobile Access Router”*

The live program will be distributed to the Center through streaming
media. The stream from the Panasonic Center is sent to the core sever
through “Broadband Access” ( 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 enable widespread access.

The second observation party of LIVE! UNIVERSE will take images of the
total solar eclipse from an airplane, and upload the images to the web
site on the evening of November 24th (JST=UT+9).

*INMARSAT: International Mobile Satellite Organization. Provides
communication service with Mobile Earth Stations, such as marine vessels,
by utilizing four fixed satellites at 36,000 km above the equator. The
four satellites are located above the equator over the Pacific Ocean,
Indian Ocean, and Atlantic Ocean (West and East) and cover almost the
whole world.

*Iridium: Satellite phone communication system which utilizes orbiting

*Cisco Systems compact built-in router “Cisco 3200 Mobile Access Router”

*Systems “Multilayer Modular Switch Catalyst 6500”

*Content Switching Module

About the total solar eclipse in the Antarctic
A total solar eclipse is the phenomenon when the sun is completely hidden
behind the moon. When the sun and the moon cross over each other, a
little light leaking around the moon makes a wonderful “Diamond Ring”,
and then there appears the pearl-colored “Corona” which spreads around
the eclipsed 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 total eclipses of the sun must occur in 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 consists of large scale networks of individual
volunteers and industry-government-academia organizations. The web
contents are used in distance learning at schools and astronomical
observatories. Webcasting has been performed by the LIVE! ECLIPSE
Executive Committee and LIVE! LEONIDS Executive Committee since 1997.
These two executive committees were integrated and re-established as
LIVE! UNIVERSE in 2002 May. The chairman is Masami Okyudo, Professor
at Wakayama University Student Center for Independent Research in the
Sciences (Former Director of Misato Observatory).
For the past projects, please visit

General Information:

Information for the press:

LIVE! UNIVERSE Public Relations Department: Ishikawa

Dr. Junichi Watanabe
Public Information Office
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
Osawa, Mitaka, 181-8588 Tokyo Japan
FAX: +81-422-34-3810