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From climax to anticlimax

Part of the Science Networks. Historical Studies book series (SNHS, volume 37)

Abstract

Until 1760 there had only been eight observations that related to the supposed moon of Venus, and they were scattered over more than a century. The situation changed drastically in the following year, which should undoubtedly be seen in the context of the long-awaited Venus transit of 1761, an event that focused international astronomical attention on the course of the planet.1 It is possible that transits of Venus have been observed before the invention of the telescope, for under the right circumstances a Venus transit should be visible to the naked eye. When the planet passes in front of the Sun, its apparent diameter is about 1/31 of that of the Sun. However, claims of pre-telescopic observations remain speculative.2

Keywords

German Translation Optical Illusion Venus Diameter Amateur Astronomer Paris Academy 
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References

  1. 2.
    See the critical discussion in Goldstein 1969 of possible transit reports made by Avicenna, Averroes and other Islamic astronomers in the Middle Ages. Kepler and some of his contemporaries believed that a Mercury transit had been observed in Europe in the ninth century (van Helden 1976b and Sheehan and Westfall 2004, pp. 57–59).Google Scholar
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