The 1874 transit of Venus and the popularisation of astronomy in the USA as reflected in the New York Times

Cottam, Stella, Orchiston, Wayne, and Stephenson, Richard (2011) The 1874 transit of Venus and the popularisation of astronomy in the USA as reflected in the New York Times. In: Orchiston, Wayne, Nakamura, Tsuko, and Strom, Richard G., (eds.) Highlighting the History of Astronomy in the Asia-Pacific Region: proceedings of the ICOA-6 conference. Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings . Springer, New York, USA, pp. 225-241.

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Abstract

Given uncertainty surrounding the true value of the astronomical unit following the 1761 and 1769 transits of Venus the next transit, in 1874, offered hope for a substantial refinement in the value of this fundamental yardstick of Solar System astronomy. Part of the reason for this successful anticipated outcome was that both photography and spectroscopy would be applied to a transit of Venus for the first time. Consequently expectations were high, and this unusual event enjoyed a high public profile, thanks to frequent articles published in newspapers and in magazines. Because of the importance of this transit, many nations dispersed expeditions to Asia, the Pacific and the Australia-New Zealand region where the entire event could be seen. The USA sent out eight transit parties to this part of the world, and their activities and results, along with those of other nations' transit parties, were widely reported back home. In this paper we focus on the U.S. expeditions, and the ways in which their activities were reported on back in the U.S.A. through the pages of the New York Times.

Item ID: 18636
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-4419-8161-5
ISSN: 1570-6605
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This chapter appears in the book "Highlighting the History of Astronomy in the Asia-Pacific Region: proceedings of the ICOA-6 conference." The book information is available from the Related URLs field.

Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2011 02:29
FoR Codes: 02 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020199 Astronomical and Space Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences @ 100%
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