Were you up with the larks this morning at sunrise to witness the Transit of Venus? If like me you were in bed and missed it, hopefully you can console yourself by exploring our new online resource which documents past observations of the transit. The website has been specially created to mark this rare astronomical event.
For those who are unsure, a Transit of Venus takes place when Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth. During a transit, Venus is visible from Earth as a small black disk moving across the face of the Sun. The next Transits of Venus will not occur until 2117.
Use the interactive map to view letters, papers, diagrams and paintings from the Royal Society’s archives to discover the expeditions made by James Cook, Mason and Dixon and others in their extraordinary efforts to view and record this phenomenon.
If you‘d like to look in more detail at some of the images which feature in this resource, you can do so via a special gallery in the Royal Society Picture Library
Have fun exploring the resource. Oh, and just to give you a heads up, the next Transit of Mercury will occur in 2016 so pop it in your diary now, there’s nothing like planning ahead!