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Observatory tent. Artwork of the equipment used by astronomers working for James Cook (1728-1779) to observe the transit of Venus from Tahiti in 1769. A pivoted telescope (not seen) was used to watch the movement of the planet across the meridian. The astronomers measured the length of time the transit took using an astronomical regulator clock (centre). The equipment was housed inside an canvas observatory tent, which was set up on wooden frames. The Royal Society funded several expeditions to view the transit. It was hoped that the distance of the Earth from the Sun, and so the size of the Solar System, could be determined from the simulataneous observations of the transit.
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