The Day the World Discovered the Sun: An Extraordinary Story of Scientific Adventure and the Race to Track the Transit of Venus
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On June 3, 1769, the planet Venus briefly passed across the face of the sun in a cosmic alignment that occurs twice per century. Anticipation of the rare celestial event sparked a worldwide competition among aspiring global superpowers, each sending their own scientific expeditions to far-flung destinations to time the planet’s trek. These pioneers used the Venus Transit” to discover the physical dimensions of the solar system and refine the methods of discovering longitude at sea.
In this fast-paced narrative, Mark Anderson reveals the stories of three Venus Transit voyages--to the heart of the Arctic, the New World, and the Pacific--that risked every mortal peril of a candlelit age. With time running out, each expedition struggles to reach its destination--a quest that races to an unforgettable climax on a momentous summer day when the universe suddenly became much larger than anyone had dared to imagine.
The Day the World Discovered the Sun tells an epic story of the enduring human desire to understand our place in the universe.
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And John Westfall, The Transits of Venus, (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2004), 125–138. Raymond Haynes, Explorers of the Southern Sky A History of Australian Astronomy (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 22–26. 4. Rezso Nagy and Attila Jozsef Kiss, “Observation of the Venus Transit,” in Jubilee Conference, 1879–2004 (Budapest: Budapest Tech Polytechnical Institution, 2004). 5. What follows is an adaptation of F. Mignard, “The Solar Parallax with the Transit of Venus,”.
Noël, climbed aboard a longboat and hauled most of the equipment ashore. The sight of such a pathetic craft ferrying such essential gear must have raised the nerves to the kind of heights that a man like Chappe, under other circumstances, might have wanted to study. Chappe could only watch helplessly as the longboat capsized again and again in the rough surf. Pauly returned to La Concepcíon alone, informing his boss that through some brave twist of luck, “They came off with no other harm than.
Shillings, a muscovy duck something under two shillings, etc. The country, where I saw it, abounded with vast variety of plants and animals, mostly such as have not been described by our naturalists as so few have had an opportunity of coming here.”30 Parkinson, Banks’s young artist, described one late-night foray into the Brazilian beyond. “Having obtained a sufficient knowledge of the river and harbour by the surveys we had made of the country,” Parkinson wrote in his journal, “we frequently,.
Enough alone. They did not. Hell wrote a personal letter to Lalande imploring the Frenchman to exclude other arctic Venus transit measurements and use Hell’s results instead. Naturally, Lalande took offense at Hell’s overreach. But Lalande went too far in his response, turning around and publicly rejecting Hell’s data entirely. In an April 1772 monograph, Lalande said a competing Swedish arctic Venus transit observation “has become the most important in all of Europe, serving as a comparison for.
America (Edinburgh: A. Donaldson & J. Reid, 1762), 142. Vertiginous piles of Mexican gold and silver passed through Vera Cruz on their way to Spain—but only via a more navigable nearby island fortress, San Juan de Ulua, where Spain’s plundered loot was stored and offloaded to awaiting galleons. 15. Chappe, Voyage to California, 15; “Vera-Cruz,” in John Purdy, The Columbian Navigator, or Sailing Dictionary (London: R.H. Laurie, 1823), 128. 16. Campbell, Account of the Spanish Settlements,.