The Transit of Venus – 22nd April 2004

Our members’ evening about The Transit of Venus started with Jeff, our Observing Officer, giving us a run-down on the night sky around the date of the transit. Then our President, Gilbert gave us a comprehensive talk about the history of Venus transits, from the first scientifically recorded one in 1631 to the most recent one in 1882. He explained the differences in techniques used and the accuracy of the measurements made. Transit observations were important in allowing the dimensions of Venus’ and the Earth’s orbits to be determined accurately, and thus provided a foundation from which the true scale of the universe could begin to be determined. Greg then gave a short talk on the techniques and perils involved in observing the transit, and Tony wound up the evening by showing us some of his excellent photographs of the Sun and Moon.

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