Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Transit of Venus Today

I'm guessing that I won't see it, because of weather.  Transits of Venus are rare--eight years apart, but then 2117 before the next one.  There were transits in 1761 and 1769 that were of great scientific importance, because they were used to more precisely determine the distance of Earth to Sun.  Revolutionary leaders such as Ben Franklin and David Rittenhouse were part of the 1769 international effort, and Franklin's paper on the subject was published in the Journal of the Royal Society--a pretty major feat for mere colonials.  Here is a collection of papers on the subject published by what becomes the AAAS in the 1770s.

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