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1749

portrait of Edmund Halley

portrait of Edmund Halley

This is a fine posthumous copper-plate portrait of the Rev'd Dr. Edmund Halley (1656-1742), the second Astronomer Royal (1720-1742). Halley is in many ways the father of the Transit of Venus enterprise, for he is the one who realized the practicality of using ToV observations to determine the Sun-Earth distance (the Astronomical Unit, AU), who devised a method for doing so (the so-called Halleyan Method), and who encouraged the mounting of a 1769 ToV campaign to that end, although he himself was unlikely to live to take part, or see the results.

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