science of astronomy was revolutionized in 1543 when Nicolas Copernicus
argued that Earth orbited the Sun. From this basic idea, scientists
such as Galileo and Kepler transformed our understanding of the universe.
discovered that planets traveled in slightly elliptical orbits and
developed a system to predict their positions more precisely. To
demonstrate the accuracy of his system, Kepler predicted that a
transit of Mercury would occur on November 7, 1631 (Mercury's transit
was confirmed by four observers). A transit of Venus would follow
on December 6.
1631 transit of Venus was not visible in Europe. But in October
1639, Jeremiah Horrocks discovered that there would be another transit
in December of that year. Horrocks and his friend William Crabtree
were the first people to witness a transit of Venus.
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