Venus transits and exploration

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James Strom
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:28 am

Venus transits and exploration

Post by James Strom » Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:47 am

The transits of Venus are very rare, coming in pairs every 120 years or so. I bring this up because it has recently been the 250th anniversary of the most famous one of all.
Have you ever noticed that there is a correlation between the transits and great events in exploration?

vts_1518_geo.gif (7.64 KiB) Viewed 1898 times

Magellan was the first around the world. However, he just missed discovering a new continent.

_42345158_voyage_victoria_map416.gif (26.11 KiB) Viewed 1898 times

Coincidentally, a spacecraft that explored Venus was called Magellan.

1292_Magellan_deploy.jpg (234.1 KiB) Viewed 1898 times

121 years later the last of the next pair of Venus transits occurred. By this time astrologers could predict them.

Horrocks_Venus_in_sole.jpg (72.66 KiB) Viewed 1898 times

I think it gave Abel Tasman an itch for adventure.

famous-voyages-abel-tasman-and-the-discovery-of-tasmania-expedition-M5D131.jpg (183.56 KiB) Viewed 1898 times

130 years later and 250 years ago Captain Cook was sent on a voyage precisely to view this transit.

english-diagram-from-david-rittenhouses-observations-of-the-1769-transit-of-venus-1769-david-rittenhouse-1064-rittenhouse-1769-observation-of-venus-transit-MNWRWY.jpg (160.56 KiB) Viewed 1898 times

He had to go quite a way.

Transit_of_1769_Richard_A_Proctor_1.jpg (3.65 MiB) Viewed 1898 times

Here's the path he took.

mapa01.jpg (47.12 KiB) Viewed 1898 times

Happy 250th!!!

Site Admin
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Re: Venus transits and exploration

Post by admin » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:25 pm

Hi James,

Thanks so much for posting this absolutely superb composite of data, events and visuals.

Whilst going through it, the thought occurred to me: Why or how it would be relevant to ‘exploration’ - which isn’t a connection I’d use for - nor associate with – least in a geographical sense.

(Thinks to self: Hmmm...but then it’s rulership of Libra, opposite Aries - the Pioneer - adds another flavour or facet to these Venus cycles ?). Nothing as exciting as being inspired !

Thanks again James.

"Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure". Pema.

James Strom
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:28 am

Re: Venus transits and exploration

Post by James Strom » Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:20 am

I would think that its being opposite Aries is right. As a side note, yet another spacecraft to visit Venus was called Pioneer 12 or Pioneer Venus 1. Hmmmm.

Pioneer_Venus_orbiter.jpg (232.96 KiB) Viewed 1882 times

There are other ones as well. Henry Morton Stanley was the most famous explorer in the nineteenth century. He was noted for saying, "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?"

Rencontre_de_Livingstone_-_How_I_found_Livingstone_(fr).png (657.81 KiB) Viewed 1882 times

He later found the source of the Nile after the transit.

And in our time Elon Musk founded SpaceX, with its first launch a couple years after the transit of 2004. There always seems to be about a two year delay. It takes time to prepare after the inspiration, I suppose.

Falcon_1_Flight_4_liftoff.jpg (55.36 KiB) Viewed 1882 times

James Strom
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Re: Venus transits and exploration

Post by James Strom » Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:26 am

I almost forgot to mention that not only is the 250th anniversary of Cook's discovery approaching, but the 500th of the start Magellan's voyage in September 2019!

Detail_from_a_map_of_Ortelius_-_Magellans_ship_Victoria.png (1.35 MiB) Viewed 1882 times

James Strom
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:28 am

Re: Venus transits and exploration

Post by James Strom » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:58 am

I'll bet that not only did Captain Cook know about the transit of Venus, being that it was the ostensible reason for his mission, but that Venus would eclipse something else besides the Sun. One planet transiting or occulting another is a very rare event. The last time that has happened the year was 1818 and it won't occur again until 2065. Not only that, They often can only be seen in certain parts of the world where the sun is setting or rising at just the right time. And one part of the world where that was the case was by western Australia on August 30, 1771. Wasn't that the time Captain Cook was mapping it? I wonder.
Here's a view from where Brisbane, Australia is now from that time. Can you tell which two planets these are?
stellarium-007.png (55.09 KiB) Viewed 1756 times

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