Posts tagged "Transit of Venus"
June 5, 2012 is the last chance most of us will have to see the planet Venus coming between the Earth and the Sun - as the next transit of Venus is scheduled for 2117.
French astronomer Guillaume Le Gentil de la Galaisière traveled to India to observe the 1761 transit of Venus from the French colony of Pondicherry. Before he arrived, the British captured the colony, forcing Le Gentil to travel to Mauritius. Unfortunately he didn’t arrive on Mauritius in time to observe the transit. Rather than return home he stayed in South Asia and studied the Indian Ocean cultures and natural history, planning to watch the 1769 transit from Manila. His plans were upset when he was ordered back to Pondicherry in 1769, which was once again under French control. While Manila had beautiful weather, it rained in Pondicherry. Le Gentil missed both transits. To add insult to injury, when he returned home in 1771 he learned that he had been declared dead. Only after many expensive legal battles did Le Gentil manage to prove that he was actually alive.
Here’s hoping for clear weather wherever you are! Image: Ruins of Pondicherry. Le Gentil’s observing station was on the structure just to the right of the flagpole (via Chasing Venus: Observing the Transits of Venus, 1631-2004)
Johann Elert Bode (1747-1826)
Deutliche Abhandlung … von dem bevorstehenden merkwürdigen Durchgang der Venus…(Clear treatise on the forthcoming remarkable transit of Venus)
Hamburg: Dieterich Anton Harmsen, 1769.
Map showing the areas from which the 1769 transit would be observable.
Image Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Observatory Library