Richard M. West European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzchild-Strasse 2, D-8046 Garching
Bei Munchen, Germany
A major web-based educational program, known as "Astronomy On-
Line," has just taken place in close collaboration among the European Association
for Astronomy Education (EAAE), the European Southern Observatory (ESO),
and the European Union.
During a period of two months, from early October to late November 1996,
a comprehensive network of astronomy-oriented educational web pages was
built up at various European sites, including the ESO headquarters in Garching.
Throughout this period, astronomy-interested groups of mostly young people from
all over Europe registered with "Astronomy On-Line"; in the end, 720 groups with
approximately 5,000 participants from 39 countries took part.
The "Astronomy On-Line" web site at ESO received up to 100,000 hits per
day. All pages were mirrored one per day or more frequently to about twenty-five
mirror sites in other European countries. No accurate statistics are available for the
number of entries at these sites, but there is little doubt that "Astronomy On-Line"
quickly developed into what the organizers early claimed: the world's biggest
astronomy event on the world-wide web.