St Patrick's Day 2012 Public Lectures

"Measuring the Solar System: The Eighteenth Century Transits of Venus"

Dr John Butler, Armagh Observatory

If the videos on this page do not play for you, try this alternative page.

The eighteenth century was a "Golden Age" for science, and many new and important discoveries were made in astronomy. The two eighteenth-century Transits of Venus, in 1761 and 1769, provided a rare opportunity to determine the fundamental unit of astronomical distance: the distance from the Earth to the Sun. The talk will describe how astronomers across the world united in this, the first great international scientific project. It will explain the difficulties they faced in carrying out their observations and their eventual success and the scientific legacy of their efforts.

Lecture

Also available as higher quality mp4 video

Questions and Answers

Also available as higher quality mp4 video

Last Revised: 2012 April 24th