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The transit of Venus

What is a transit of Venus?
Captain Cook and the transit of Venus
The 1874 Transit of Venus
Station A - Egypt
Station B - Honolulu, Hawaii
Station C - Rodriguez Island
Station D - New Zealand
Station E - Kerguelen Island
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Station A - Egypt

The Royal Observatory sent three parties to Egypt in 1874 - one to the Mokattam Hills near Cairo, another to Alexandria and a third to Suez. The Mokattam Hills party included - unusually for the time - two women. These were the wife of Captain C. Orde Browne of the Royal Artillery, who was in charge of the party, and Miss Emily M. Newton, the sister of one of the observers. Both were involved in taking and recording observations of the transit.

Station A - Luxor, Egypt
View full size imageStation A - Luxor, Egypt


The equatorial telescope for Station A.

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The equatorial telescope for Station A.
The equatorial telescope and regulator, destined for Station A, assembled in Greenwich Park.

Arriving at Station A1 at Thebes.

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Arriving at Station A1 at Thebes.
The 'Dahabeah' arriving at Station A1 at Thebes in Egypt, one of the Station A sites. She carried the astronomers and their instruments.
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Arriving at Station A1 at Thebes.

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Arriving at Station A1 at Thebes.
The astronomers arriving at Station A1 at Thebes in Egypt.

Station A1 at Thebes.

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Station A1 at Thebes.
The camp at Station A1 at Thebes in Egypt.
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A glass negative of the Transit of Venus.

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A glass negative of the Transit of Venus.
Luxor was another site of Station A in Egypt. This glass negative contains one exposure of Venus crossing the Sun’s limb.

A glass negative of the Transit of Venus, taken from Luxor.

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A glass negative of the Transit of Venus, taken from Luxor.
A glass negative of the 1874 Transit of Venus, showing one exposure of the planet Venus crossing the Sun’s limb.
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An astronomical regulator clock used at Station A.

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An astronomical regulator clock used at Station A.
Twelve new clocks were ordered by the Royal Observatory Greenwich for the Transit of Venus expeditions of 1874. This astronomical regulator clock, Dent No. 2009, is a weight-driven, sidereal, wood pendulum, 8-day regulator with deadbeat escapement with jewelled pallets. For the 1874 expedition it was sent to Cairo in Egypt (Station A). It may also have been used in the 1882 Transit of Venus expeditions. In 1894 it was returned to the Royal Observatory Greenwich and set up in the South East Equatorial dome. It was moved to the Astrographic dome also at Greenwich in 1929 and then to Abinger in 1940 as the controlled clock for the transmission of the time signals.

A portable altazimuth instrument used at Station A.

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A portable altazimuth instrument used at Station A.
A portable altazimuth instrument used at Station A (in Egypt) on the Transit of Venus expedition of 1874. An altazimuth instrument is a telescope that moves vertically to measure the altitude (height) of a celestial body and horizontally to find its azimuth, or degrees horizontally from north. This telescope was originally commissioned for the 1874 transit expedition, but was later used at the Royal Observatory and on later expeditions.
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What is a transit of Venus?
Captain Cook and the transit of Venus
The 1874 Transit of Venus
Station A - Egypt
Station B - Honolulu, Hawaii
Station C - Rodriguez Island
Station D - New Zealand
Station E - Kerguelen Island
*
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Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

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Find out more
Transit of Venus 8th June 2004
Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
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StoriesGreenwich and the story of time
Find out why Greenwich is the home of Mean Time and the Prime Meridian
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Stories'The Centre of Time and Space'
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Related Resources
Related Images1 Images
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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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