Measuring the Universe: Transit of Venus to the Edge of Cosmos at the Royal Observatory

By Ben Miller | 24 February 2012
A black and white photo of two men in an observatory at the start of the 1900s
Preparations for the last time the sun passed Venus, in 1874© National Maritime Museum, London
Exhibition: Measuring the Universe: from the Transit of Venus to the Edge of the Cosmos, Royal Observatory Greenwich, London, March 1 – September 2 2012

On June the 5th, Venus will pin a tiny black dot to the front of the Sun. Given that this only happens once every 105 years, there’s a chance most of us will never get to see the planet do so again, so the event which helped bygone astronomers measure the distance of the sun is being honoured with an exhibition and a range of events at the Royal Observatory.

Astronomer Royal, Edmond Halley, Captain Cook, Edwin Hubble and the Cosmic Microwave Background Explorer all feature in a show revealing the scale of the cosmos, replete with stars, galaxies, solar shimmering and the afterglow of the Big Bang.

In March, you can get one of the finest views of Venus anywhere on our humble planet by peeping through the venue’s 28-inch telescope.

It will, they assure us, be in fine viewing fettle throughout the month, taking until June to begin falling from vision.

  • Open 10am-5pm (closed July 23 – August 3). Admission free.
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