Transit of Venus: 1631 to the Present

Transit of Venus: 1631 to the Present

by Nick Lomb
     
 

A visually spectacular guide to the history, science and significance of Venus’s rare transits across the sun—the perfect companion to the transit on June 5, 2012 (the last one until 2117!)

A transit of Venus is one of the rarest and most historically significant planetary alignments—since the invention of the telescope in 1608,

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Overview

A visually spectacular guide to the history, science and significance of Venus’s rare transits across the sun—the perfect companion to the transit on June 5, 2012 (the last one until 2117!)

A transit of Venus is one of the rarest and most historically significant planetary alignments—since the invention of the telescope in 1608, there have been only seven. A must-have for all sky-watchers, Transit of Venus is packed with scientific and historical context—for example, astronomers calculated the distance from Earth to the Sun by studying the 1769 transit, which Captain Cook famously sailed to uncharted Tahiti to observe. Here also is an unsurpassed breadth of visual material: NASA photographs of Venus, illustrated observations of earlier transits, and rarely published images of the instruments and expeditions made to study them. With this book, the grandeur and history of transits will be accessible to everyone interested in the ceaseless,
wondrous movements of the planets in our solar system.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In his new book, Nick Lomb, longtime curator of astronomy at Australia’s Sydney Observatory, gives the complete rundown on this astronomical event.”
The Washington Post

“[Lomb] has produced a lavishly illustrated book that covers the human side of transits of Venus in addition to describing the scientific interest….Lomb’s book covers so many aspects of transits that, with its clear writing and beautiful illustrations, it should be of great interest to all.”
The Key Reporter, published by Phi Beta Kappa

“[A] gorgeous book...worth every penny.”
The Australian

“Dr. Lomb covers each of the transits in detail by not only explaining the logistics involved in getting people and instruments to prime locations for observing the transits but also by providing a background story of those involved along with the triumphs and tragedies. . . In addition to the detailed stories, the book also contains a stunning collection of 140 photos and illustrations covering everything from high definition NASA images to drawings from the explorers themselves. . . Anyone interested in the upcoming transit of Venus will finds this book to be a great resource for understanding the historical and scientific significance of the event along with valuable information to observe the event.”
UniverseToday.com

“[A] lavishly illustrated and entertaining history of the phenomenon. . . . Lomb’s book was an invaluable resource”
SmartPlanet.com

“The history of the quest to determine the astronomical unit is intertwined with the Venus transits and the stories of the scientist-adventurers who made that possible is worthy of a whole book.  Fortunately, Nick Lomb has done just that in a full-color one out now, just in time to maximize your enjoyment of the event. Make the most of it, you will not live to see another one. . . Everything you could want to know, about how astronomy was used for naval travel to the impacts of that work today is included.  For the upcoming [transit], Lomb includes everything you would want to know from just about every spot on Earth.”
Science 2.0

“Everyone should see the transit of Venus in June 2012, since it is the last chance until 2117. And everyone should read Nick Lomb’s fascinating book, which beautifully and dramatically highlights both the history and scientific importance of the transit of Venus.”
Professor Jay M. Pasachoff, Vice Chair, Historical Astronomy, Division of the American Astronomical Society

“This is exactly what a great astronomy book should be: comprehensive, highly informative, yet very accessible for lay readers, and beautifully illustrated to showcase the glory of the heavens.”
—Dr. Kevin Fewster, Director, National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory, Greenwich, UK

“With this superb and lavishly illustrated book, astronomer Nick Lomb has provided the complete guide to Venus transits past and present. Essential reading for everyone.”
—Professor Fred Watson, Astronomer-in-Charge, Australian Astronomical Observatory

Library Journal
Human knowledge of the universe depends a great deal on the ability to determine distances. Until recently, the distance between Earth and the Sun could be measured only by a careful observation of the transit of Venus. Formatted much like a coffee-table book, this volume is not only eye-catching but also extremely informative, making the history of observing the transit accessible and relevant to general readers. Each transit since the invention of the telescope is given its own chapter, in which Lomb (former curator, astronomy, Sydney Observatory; "Australian Sky Guide" series) includes historical context ranging from international politics to the arts. He also makes mention of scientists like Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, who worked on the transit of Venus, but who are famous as the cartographers after whom the Mason-Dixon line is named. VERDICT Colorful and packed with information, this book will please those with both casual and scholarly interests in observational astronomy and its history. Recommended.—Marcia R. Franklin, St. Paul

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781615190553
Publisher:
Experiment, The
Publication date:
04/03/2012
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.56(d)

Meet the Author

Nick Lomb was Curator of Astronomy at the Sydney Observatory for over thirty years (1979-2010). He continues to work as a consultant astronomer for the Sydney Powerhouse Museum and Sydney Observatory. He is the author of the Australian Sky Guide, published annually by the Powerhouse Museum, as well several books on astronomy including Astronomy for the Southern Sky (1986) and the catalogue produced for the Powerhouse Museum’s exhibition on the 2004 transit of Venus, Transitof Venus: The Scientific Event that Led Captain Cook to Australia (2004).

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