History of the Transits
Sites which focus on the history of the transits include:
- The exhibition "The Most Noble Problem in Nature" on the British 18th-century transits is at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford.
- The astronomy of Captain Cook's first circumnavigation is outlined at the James Cook University.
- A selection of images from the 18th and 19th centuries has been assembled by Brian Greig.
- Original photographs from the official British 1874 expeditions feature in a virtual exhibition at the PortCities website.
- A detailed account of the American 19th-century programme is given in chapter 7 of Steven J. Dick, Sky and Ocean Joined: U.S. Naval Observatory, 1830-2000 (2003), also available online.
- There are surviving photographic plates from the American 1882 expeditions at the US Naval Observatory.
- A rediscovered sequence of 147 plates from California in 1882 has been animated into a Quicktime movie.
- The 1882 observing station at Wellington, South Africa is presented in a page by Willie Koorts.
- The Royal Astronomical Society shows 19th-century transit images from its archives.
- Music composed for the 19th-century transits can be seen and heard online at the site of the Library of Congress.
- A substantial bibliography of primary and secondary sources has been compiled by Rob van Gent, including links to online versions of original texts.
There are also several sites providing information on both the astronomy and the history of transits:
- www.transitofvenus.org - resources on the science of transits and instructions for viewing in 2004, with a historical section; site by Chuck Bueter.
- European Southern Observatory - a major outreach programme based on the 2004 transit, with substantial background material in various InfoSheets.
- www.venus-transit.de - includes applets to animate the relative planetary motions; site by Jurgen Giesen.
- The Quest for the Solar Parallax - subsequently developed into a book: David Sellers, The Transit of Venus: The Quest to Find the True Distance of the Sun (2001)