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Chasing Venus

Chasing Venus

Periodically the planet Venus passes directly between Earth and the Sun, appearing as a small black dot on the Sun's disk. Since astronomers first became aware of them in 1631, these "transits of Venus" have fascinated astronomers because of their rarity and their potential to help scientists measure the solar system. The expeditions that set out to observe transits from remote locations paved the way for a new era of scientific exploration - yet never managed to unlock the transits' secrets. "Chasing Venus" tells the story of astronomers' pursuit of this phenomenon, through rare books and articles written on the subject over the last four centuries. The exhibit also marks the sixth observed transit of Venus, in June 2004.

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