In the 1760s the world’s scientific community was electrified because the transit of Venus would allow them for the first time to calculate the distance between the planets in our solar system. On June 6, 1761 and June 3, 1769, the planet Venus passed between Earth and Sun–each time visible as a small black dot against the face of the Sun for six hours. Transits of Venus always arrive in pairs –eight years apart–but then it takes more than a century before they are seen again.
Author Andrea Wulf will provide an intriguing glimpse at the spirit of the Enlightenment and the collaborative race to measure the heavens. Her book, Chasing Venus, will be published in May in conjunction with the Transit of Venus on June 5/6, 2012.