ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Transit of Venus, historical artwork. These drawings of the transit of Venus across the Sun were produced by Captain James Cook (1728-1779) and Charles Green (1735-1771). Cook and Green both travelled to Tahiti to view the 1769 transit. When Venus passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, it is seen as a small disc that obscures part of the Sun. This phenomenon is rare, as it occurs in pairs that are spaced by eight years and each pair then has over 100 years between them. Only seven Venus transits have occurred since the invention of the telescope (in 1631, 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 and 2004). The next 21st century transit is on 6th June 2012. Engraving from Philosophical Transactions volume 61 (1771).
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