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The Day the World Discovered the Sun

An Extraordinary Story of Scientific Adventure and the Race to Track the Transit of Venus

Mark Anderson

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

On June 3, 1769, the planet Venus briefly passed across the face of the sun in a cosmic alignment that occurs twice per century. Anticipation of the rare celestial event sparked a worldwide competition among aspiring global superpowers, each sending their own scientific expeditions to far-flung destinations to time the planet’s trek. These pioneers used the “Venus Transit” to discover the physical dimensions of the solar system and refine the methods of discovering longitude at sea.

In this fast-paced narrative, Mark Anderson reveals the stories of three Venus Transit voyages--to the heart of the Arctic, the New World, and the Pacific—that risked every mortal peril of a candlelit age. With time running out, each expedition struggles to reach its destination—a quest that races to an unforgettable climax on a momentous summer day when the universe suddenly became much larger than anyone had dared to imagine.

The Day the World Discovered the Sun tells an epic story of the enduring human desire to understand our place in the universe.

Publishers Weekly Review

Mar 19, 2012 – In this exciting tale—part detective story, part history of science—Anderson (“Shakespeare” by Another Name) vividly recreates the torturous explorations and enthralling discovery of three peripatetic and insatiably curious explorers. The French astronomer Jean-Baptiste Chappe d’Auteroche, the British naval captain James Cook, and the Hungarian scientist and priest Maximilian Hell chased Venus across the sky in 1761 and 1769 as its shadow crossed the sun and they sought to uncover one of the 18th-century’s greatest scientific mysteries: the dimensions of the solar system. In these voyages, Cook, Chappe, and Hell determined that the Sun is 95 million miles from Earth and that the Sun’s horizontal parallax is about eight and a half seconds. These discoveries also led to the establishment of lunar longitude methods and the use of the sextant to determine longitude. Anderson points out that the next transit of Venus in June 2012 is sure to add to astronomers’ understanding of the nature of exoplanets in our solar system and whether or not such planets can support life similar to Earth. 16 pages of b&w photos.
The Day the World Discovered the Sun
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  • $18.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: May 08, 2012
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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