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Venus transits through history

Since Venus transits do not occur very often – twice with eight years apart about every hundred years - not everybody get the opportunity to experience this unique phenomenon. The phenomenon also made researchers in the past wonder and also to do the strangest things. One of them risked both life, health and marriage in order to witness our sister planets exclusive journey across the solar disk.


by Anne Mette Sannes


1631 and 1639
Two young amateur astronomers were not only the first people to observe a Venus transit - they also predicted the transit in 2004!
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A lot of expeditions were sent out to observe the Venus transits in 1761 and 1769:

Edmond Legentil – an unfortunate astronomer
In 1761, participating in a big project with more than two hundred astronomers, the French astronomer Guillame Legentil set out to observe the Venus transit. But the place he was heading for was under occupation, and since he was not able to observe the phenomenon from the ship, he decided to wait and observe the next transit from the Philippines eight years later. But there was trouble in sight for the patient astronomer …
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Navigating by stars and primitive tools
In 1766, Captain Cook, the British explorer, is asked to sail to Tahiti with the ship Endeavour to observe and measure the Venus transit in 1769, three years later.
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Amazing observations from Vardø, Norway
Maximilian Hell, a Hungarian astronomer and Jesuit, made a very successful observation of the Venus-transit from Vardø in 1769. Hells observation made it possible to estimate the Sun's parallax which made it possible to calculate the average distance between Earth and the Sun. 
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Venus transits in modern times

1874 and 1882
A major international program is started, and there are great expectations due to improvements of telescopes and observing techniques
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2004 and 2012
Venus transits for the people! The only Venus transits that humans living now are able to observe! 
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Major celestial events in Norway 2010-2015

Eclipse shades for the events

It is important to get eclipse shades for the unique transit of Venus of June 6, 2012. If you miss this one, you will not have any other opportunity! More information about eclipse shades and solar telescope

Vårt magiske univers: Norwegian film about space

Magnificent images, movies accompanied by majestic music.

Extensive Norwegian DVD about space and eclipses.

Separate tracks about the eclipses in Norway in 1954, Turkey in 2006, the Arctic in 2008 and China in 2009.

News from space in Norwegian

News from space in Norwegian

Web sites News from space in Norwegian describes the spectacular total solar eclipse taking place on Svalbard and the North Pole on March 20, 2015.



Contact: Anne Mette Sannes, Phone: (+47) 97 03 80 50 E-mail: