Observing the Transits of Venus
1631 - 2004
the planet Venus passes directly between Earth and the Sun, appearing
as a small black dot on the Sun's disk. Since astronomers first
became aware of them in 1631, these "transits of Venus"
have fascinated astronomers because of their rarity and their potential
to help scientists measure the solar system. The expeditions that
set out to observe transits from remote locations paved the way
for a new era of scientific exploration - yet never managed to unlock
the transits' secrets.
Venus" tells the story of astronomers' pursuit of this phenomenon,
through rare books and articles written on the subject over the
last four centuries. The exhibit also marks the sixth observed transit
of Venus, in June 2004.