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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

Archive by Date | Archive by Article Title

Le Gentil - Heroic Failure
Here's the story of Guillaume Le Gentil who went to India to observe the transit of Venus in 1761 and took eleven years to get home again. War and weather conspired to prevent his making observations and illness further delayed his return. Was he the unluckiest astronomer ever?

Transit of Venus - Captain Cook 1769
How big is the Solar System? 18th century astronomers tried to find out by sending expeditions around the world to measure a transit of Venus. One of these was Captain Cook's voyage to Tahiti. He went under the auspices of the Royal Society, but he carried secret orders from the government.

Royal Observatory Greenwich
It's the place where time begins: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England. Here you can stand on the Prime Meridian of the world with one foot in the western hemisphere and the other in the eastern hemisphere. It represents over three hundred years of astronomical and maritime history.

The Transit of Venus - Book Review
In the north of England in the early 17th century, there was an amazing circle of astronomers. They were well ahead of their time and included the first two people ever to observe a transit of Venus. What ended this brief flowering? Peter Aughton tells the story.

Mother's Day - an Astronomy Bouquet
Flowers from the florist are popular for Mother's Day. But for really stellar mothers, here is a cosmic floral tribute with links to some dazzling astronomical images.

Copernicus for Kids
Since the name of Nicolaus Copernicus is still well known nearly five hundred years after his death, why was his grave unmarked until 2010? Find out about the life of the quiet revolutionary that turned our view of the universe inside out.

Absolute Beginners - Observing the Sun
Study the Sun, but treat it with respect! Protect your eyes and use equipment with care, and you can count sunspots and see solar eclipses and transits. Or from the the comfort of your living room your computer will let you see space telescope images of solar flares, prominences and maybe a comet.

The Sun - Facts for Kids
The Sun is a star and it's a big one. It's bigger than 85% of the other stars in the Milky Way and contains almost all of the mass of the whole Solar System. Find out more about the star that makes life on Earth possible.

Kew Observatory
An observatory that a king built to watch the 1769 transit of Venus. The place where official time for London used to be set. Where a murderer was sometimes in attendance when the King walked in the gardens. Find out more about the history of Kew Observatory.

Transit of Venus - Measuring the Solar System
On June 8, 2004 millions of people witnessed an event that no one still alive had ever seen: a transit of Venus. Another occurred in June 2012, but it was the last for over a hundred years. What is a transit of Venus? How did it help to work out out the size of the Solar System?

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