Chasing Venus, by Andrea Wulf

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Chasing Venus.jpg
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Chasing Venus, by Andrea Wulf


CHASING VENUS tells the extraordinary story of the first global scientific collaboration, set amid warring armies, hurricanes, scientific endeavour and personal tragedy.

On 6 June 1761 and 3 June 1769 the planet Venus passed between Earth and Sun – each time visible as a small black dot against the burning face of the Sun for six hours. Transits of Venus always arrive in pairs – eight years apart – but then it takes more than a century before they are seen again. In the 1760s the world’s scientific community was electrified because the transit would allow them for the first time to calculate the distance between the planets in our solar system. This would require triangulated data to be compiled from various exact points dotted all around the four corners of the globe – all taken simultaneously during the short period of the actual Transit.

Hundreds of astronomers from European countries and the North American colonies were dispatched across the world to observe the rare celestial encounter. At a time when war was tearing Europe and much of the rest of the world apart, they overcame political, geographical and intellectual boundaries.

CHASING VENUS is told as a race across the world. Rich with tales of obsession, and featuring pirates, plagues, astronomers and scientists including Catherine the Great and Benjamin Franklin, CHASING VENUS bursts with action, wonderful detail and scientific excitement, revealing the spirit of the Enlightenment and man’s quest to understand the world.

Reviews for "Chasing Venus"

“Thrilling book … absorbing … exciting”, The Independent

"Andrea Wulf's engrossing history is a fitting tribute", Mail on Sunday

"Andrea Wulf's stirring history of Venus-gazing shows astronomy at its most adventurous and heroic … like an astonishing pre-Verne Around the World in Eighty Days ... a thrilling, stirring tale, very well told", The Guardian

"Andrea Wulf's story of the chase is an enthralling, nail-biting thriller and will undoubtedly prove one of the non-fiction books of the year. Even if you fail to see the Transit, don't miss this wonderful book," Daily Mail

"Entertaining tale … tastefully … Chasing Venus captures the spirit of adventure and the wonder … a pleasure to read from beginning to end", BBC Sky at Night Magazine

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