Chasing Venus: Observing the Transits of Venus 1631-2004
What is a Transit of Venus?
Discovering the Transits: The 1631 and 1639 Transits
Measuring the Universe: The 1761 and 1769 Transits
New Possibilities: The 1874 and 1882 Transits
The Transits of 2004 and 2012
Credits and Financial Support
Education and Events
Resources and Links

Discovring the Transits: The 1631 and 1639 Transits
The 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.

Kepler 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.

The 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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