Local Author Chronicles 18th Century Chase to Observe Transit of Venus
A very, very rare event occurs this evening - the planet Venus will come between the earth and the sun, and for several hours - with proper eye protection - professional and amateur astronomers around the world will closely examine the transit. It won't happen again until the 2100s. When the transit took place back in 1769, the world's top astronomers and navigators -- including Captain James Cook -- sailed the globe in search of the best vantage for observing the phenomenon. The data they gathered allowed, for the first time, precise measurements of the solar system. Western Massachusetts Author Mark Anderson has chronicled those sea-faring scientists' adventures in "The Day The World Discovered the Sun." He told New England Public Radio's Fred Bever that the effort was a precursor to later collaborative science efforts like the Apollo missions or the human genome project.