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venus

drawing of the black drop

drawing of the black drop

Recreation of 18th-century drawing of the black drop effect. Image courtesy of Specula astronomica minima (©Specula astronomica minima).

1769 ToV portable observatory Hudson Bay

1769 ToV portable observatory Hudson Bay

Recreation of the pre-fab observatory brought to the Prince of Wales transit of Venus station by William Wales and Joseph Dymond. The observatory was designed by John Smeaton, the "father of civil engineering". Note the ice; according to the observers, the extreme cold was a challenge. Image courtesy of Specula astronomica minima (©Specula astronomica minima).

Samuel Cooper 1882 ToV photos

Samuel Cooper 1882 ToV photos

Rare amateur astrophotographs of the 1882 transit. Samuel Cooper, a poor but resourceful "day-labourer astronomer" (to use Allan Chapman's term), was known as the "Optical Bricklayer" from his contributions to the English Mechanic and the World of Science. He used a 23cm silver-on-glass Newtonian reflector and a camera of his own manufacture to take these images. They survive today on this rare lantern slide. The images came into the RASC's possession in 1911, the gift of G. Parry Jenkins, an acquaintance of Cooper's. Image ©RASC.

ToV parallax

ToV parallax

Image courtesy of Specula astronomica minima (©Specula astronomica minima).

ToV Reflector with Heliometer 1760s-1770s

ToV Reflector with Heliometer 1760s-1770s

The Heliometer was a split-image micrometer which fit on the objective end of a telescope. It was used to measure angles. It was pretty much the most advanced such instrument for measuring angles at the time of the 1761 and 1769 transits of Venus. Image courtesy of Specula astronomica minima (©Specula astronomica minima).

Ferguson 1761 ToV

Ferguson 1761 ToV

James Ferguson (1710-1776), FRS, a very skilled maker of astronomical instruments and an effective popularizer of the science, wrote several works explaining the phenomenon of the transit of Venus for those with an avocational taste for natural philosophy. He also gave advice on observing and harvesting of data, encouraging his readers to take an active part in studying the phenomena of nature themselves. The plate reproduced here is from our Archives' copy of Astronomy Explained Upon Sir Isaac Newton's Principles..., 6th ed. (London: W. Strahan, J. Rivington and Sons, et al., 1778).

Edinburgh Encyclopedia Black Drop Effect 1832

Edinburgh Encyclopedia Black Drop Effect 1832

Image courtesy of Specula astronomica minima (©Specula astronomica minima).

18th-19th century ToV recording tools

18th-19th century ToV recording tools

These are the tools ("mathematical instruments") which were commonly used by Georgian astronomers to record their observations of the 1761 and 1769 transits of Venus, and by their early Victorian successors who illustrated the events afterwards. Starting from the upper left are a quill knife, a porte-crayon, a glass inkwell, a copper-alloy, leather, and glass travelling inkwell, a quill pen, an ebony and copper-alloy parallel rule, copper-alloy and steel dividers, a boxwood and copper-alloy English sector, and a boxwood plane scale.

ToV orbital conditions

ToV orbital conditions

Image courtesy of Specula astronomica minima (©Specula astronomica minima).

Venus Phases 1868

Venus Phases 1868

Venus' phases in 1868. Sketch by Andrew Elvins.

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