Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Picture taken 10:29 CET in Hamburg Altona, using a Canon EOS 300D, 300mm lens, covered roughly 90% by cardboard and using a black slide as filter.

Only every 122 years venus can be seen passing in front of the sun, but then twice within 8 years. One of the last venus transits features one of my personal favorite scientists: Guillaume Joseph Le Gentil. In 1760 he left Brest for India, to observe the venus transit from there allowing to measure the distance between earth and sun, a method developed by Halley. He arrived Pondycherry in India in time, but the city was taken by british soldiers who where at war with the french at that time. He could not leave the ship, so he did his measurements aboard, which ended up completely useless...

He then went to Madagaskar and Mauritius to do some studies there and wait for the next transit eight year later. Returning in time to Pondicherry, which has fallen back to France again, he was only able to stare at rain clouds. Disappointed he returned to france. On his voyage he survived two ships sinking, finding at his return that he had been declared dead by his family and all his welth had been spend by his heirs.

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