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Transit of Venus happening today

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When tomorrow’s [today’s] transit is over, there won’t be another one until 2117.

The 18th century marked what could be considered the first space race.

The major European powers, at the urging of Halley, financed dozens of scientific expeditions to distant parts of the globe to observe the pair of Venus transits in 1761 and 1769. From these observations, astronomers hoped to gain a better understanding of the size of the solar system.

Beneath this lofty goal, the individual states advanced their own political ambitions. And, in one case, the transit was used as a cover to grab more territory.

Still, many of those who ventured abroad suffered great personal hardship in the pursuit of science.

In science, ‘twas ever thus.

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2 Responses to Transit of Venus happening today

  1. I am fortunate to have nearby a pedestal still standing that was used to hold the instruments that studied the 1874 Transit of Venus. The expedition was led by an American, Williams Harkness of the US Naval Observatory


    Thankfully, Harkness and his crew were more comfortably accommodated in colonial Hobart, Tasmania, Australia than seemingly fellow scientific travellers were in other parts of the globe.

  2. 2
    Chance Ratcliff

    I was able to catch a glimpse of this – Venus, a small black dot against the sun, clearly visible with no magnification, riding about 2/3 out from center on the right side – just before the sun ducked behind some trees and vanished.

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