ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Transit of Venus, Rodriguez Island, Indian Ocean. This expedition was one of several organised by British astronomers. Left to right are the altazimuth hut, the equatorial hut, and the photoheliography transit hut. Such transits (where Venus passes across the Sun as seen from the Earth) are rare, occurring in pairs over 100 years apart. The two transits that took place in the 19th century (1874 and 1882) saw astronomers worldwide measure the solar parallax to calculate the Earth-Sun distance. The 1874 transit occurred on 9 December. Photographed by Irish astronomer Charles Edward Burton (1846-1882).
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