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The transit of Venus enterprise in Victorian Britain

Author: Jessica Ratcliff
Publisher: London ; Brookfield, Vt. : Pickering & Chatto, 2008.
Series: Science and culture in the nineteenth century, no. 3.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the British Government spent a vast amount of money measuring the distance between the earth and the sun using observations of the transit of Venus. Hundreds of expeditions were organized by countries across the globe to collect data on the transits of 1874 and 1882, using the most up-to-date astronomical instruments and new photographic methods. Ratcliff presents a  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Observations
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Jessica Ratcliff
ISBN: 9781851965410 1851965416 9780822944782 0822944782
OCLC Number: 171560473
Notes: Originally presented as the author's thesis.
Description: ix, 220 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm.
Contents: Precedent : transit of Venus expeditions in 1761 and 1769 --
Historical precedent --
Big science in Britain c. 1815-70 --
Magnetic crusades : the bigger science between the two transits --
Admiralty science and the reform movement --
Airy's Greenwich and its place in the historiography --
Noble science, noble nation : the establishment of transit programmes in Britain and abroad --
Edward Stone, the black drop effect and the transit of Mercury in 1868 --
Transit proposal in Parliament --
International picture : transit programmes abroad --
Situating the observation stations --
Britain's scientific honour, the press and the Airy-Proctor debate --
Inside Greenwich : the preparations for 1874 --
Warren De La Rue and the photographic plan --
Precision astronomical photography in the wet-plate era --
Programme design as a national product --
Telescopic plan : modelling the transit of Venus --
Artificial black drop experiments --
Training the observers --
Model training versus personal equation measures --
International melee --
Expeditions --
Establishing the observation stations : the case of Cairo --
Environment, local time and latitude : work routines at the stations --
Longitude experiments --
Lindsay and Gill's chronometric trials --
Browne's experiment in submarine telegraphy --
Day of the transit : 8-9 December 1874 --
Transit of Venus observed in Cairo --
Worldwide spectacle : the day of the transit in the press --
Outcome --
Airy's international proposal for reducing the observations --
Calculating parallax in 1874 versus 1769 --
Plan to measure the photographs --
Mist of words --
Financial crisis --
'Casting' phases and 'doctoring' results --
Deciding that photography had failed --
Official publication and the retirement of the Astronomer Royal --
Outcomes and results beyond Greenwich --
Conclusion --
Measurement in Late Victorian science --
National science, growth and progress --
Epilogue : the transit of 1882 --
Change of leadership and loss of resources --
Question of international cooperation --
New instructions to observers --
Longitude work and the loss of admiralty patronage --
Expeditions --
Outcome --
Transit enterprise, international cooperation and precision astronomical photography.
Series Title: Science and culture in the nineteenth century, no. 3.
Responsibility: by Jessica Ratcliff.

Abstract:

In the nineteenth century, the British Government spent money measuring the distance between the earth and the sun using observations of the transit of Venus. This book presents a narrative of the  Read more...

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'makes for a fascinating cultural history of a Victorian scientific expedition that yields valuable insights into Victorian scientific practice.' Isis 'remarkably informed, insightful, and Read more...

 
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