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Eli Maor
June 8, 2004
Venus in Transit

Venus will orbit across the face of the sun on 8 June 2004. This transit across the solar plexus has not been seen since 1884, ancient history in astronomical terms. Professor Eli Maor, mathematician and amateur astronomer, looks back at the history of Venus' solar transits. Very few transits have been recorded by Western astronomers; the first was in 1639 by an obscure astronomer named Jeremy Horrocks. Many astronomers have become obsessed by the transit, sometimes even falsifying information when weather prohibited them from clearly observing the transits. Data regarding the transit of Venus were considered to be extremely important and thus the subject of international intrigue, treaties, and cooperation (even during times of war). Early astronomers were sent all over the world to record the transits, and such voyages contributed to the discoveries of Australia, the Cook Islands, and Antarctica. Maor brings science history vividly alive in a manner reminiscent of Eco, with tales of eccentric astronomers, political corruption, and conspiracy. A delight to anyone interested in astronomy or the history of science. Michael Spinella

Princeton University Press, 2000, 186 S.
29,70 Euro
ISBN: 978-0-691-04874-1

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