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Explorer Hero Captain James Cook saw the Transit of Venus on 3rd June 1769

3rd June 2014

On this day, 3rd June, in 1769 one of our Explorer heroes, Captain James Cook saw and recorded the Transit of Venus. You should be able to see his image on the homepage – he’s the one being bullied by a kangaroo!

The Royal Society in London had commissioned Cook and a team of astronomers and natural scientists  to travel to seek out the Transit of Venus in order to develop astronomical and navigational knowledge. They viewed it on the island of Tahiti. It’s an unusual astronomical phenomenon, which only appears every hundred years plus in pairs of two, eight years apart. If we’d been focused and in the right place, and you may well have been, we could have seen it two years ago on 5th June 2012.

In the ‘Transit’ Venus presents as a small black disc travelling across the sun. You should be able to see the next one in 2117. Keep your eyes peeled!