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Transit of Venus: 1631 to the Present Paperback – April 3, 2012
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“In his new book, Nick Lomb, longtime curator of astronomy at Australia’s Sydney Observatory, gives the complete rundown on this astronomical event.”
—The Washington Post
“[Lomb] has produced a lavishly illustrated book that covers the human side of transits of Venus in addition to describing the scientific interest….Lomb’s book covers so many aspects of transits that, with its clear writing and beautiful illustrations, it should be of great interest to all.”
—The Key Reporter, published by Phi Beta Kappa
“[A] gorgeous book...worth every penny.”
“Dr. Lomb covers each of the transits in detail by not only explaining the logistics involved in getting people and instruments to prime locations for observing the transits but also by providing a background story of those involved along with the triumphs and tragedies. . . In addition to the detailed stories, the book also contains a stunning collection of 140 photos and illustrations covering everything from high definition NASA images to drawings from the explorers themselves. . . Anyone interested in the upcoming transit of Venus will finds this book to be a great resource for understanding the historical and scientific significance of the event along with valuable information to observe the event.”
“[A] lavishly illustrated and entertaining history of the phenomenon. . . . Lomb’s book was an invaluable resource”
“The history of the quest to determine the astronomical unit is intertwined with the Venus transits and the stories of the scientist-adventurers who made that possible is worthy of a whole book. Fortunately, Nick Lomb has done just that in a full-color one out now, just in time to maximize your enjoyment of the event. Make the most of it, you will not live to see another one. . . Everything you could want to know, about how astronomy was used for naval travel to the impacts of that work today is included. For the upcoming [transit], Lomb includes everything you would want to know from just about every spot on Earth.”
“Everyone should see the transit of Venus in June 2012, since it is the last chance until 2117. And everyone should read Nick Lomb’s fascinating book, which beautifully and dramatically highlights both the history and scientific importance of the transit of Venus.”
—Professor Jay M. Pasachoff, Vice Chair, Historical Astronomy, Division of the American Astronomical Society
“This is exactly what a great astronomy book should be: comprehensive, highly informative, yet very accessible for lay readers, and beautifully illustrated to showcase the glory of the heavens.”
—Dr. Kevin Fewster, Director, National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory, Greenwich, UK
“With this superb and lavishly illustrated book, astronomer Nick Lomb has provided the complete guide to Venus transits past and present. Essential reading for everyone.”
—Professor Fred Watson, Astronomer-in-Charge, Australian Astronomical Observatory
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CITATION: Lomb, N. (2011). Transit of Venus: 1631 to the present. Kensington, N.S.W: University of New South Wales Press.
Reviewer: Dr W. P. Palmer
This book was written as a preparation for the last transit of Venus to be visible from Earth during the twenty first century and it took place on 6th June, 2012 (the reviewer's birthday). Australia was one place on earth where the full transit was visible, which may account for the great public interest that was aroused here. One does not have to be an astronomer to have found this a historically significant and fascinating event. This book tells the story of people from many nations who have tried to observe the transit of Venus, some successfully and some unsuccessfully. The format of the book is almost square with sides of about 23 centimetres. The illustration is prolific with both black and white and colour photographs and sketches. The large size format allows plenty of room for this purpose and many of the photographs used are important historically. The book has 227 pages that include an index, a glossary and a bibliography. The front cover shows a dramatic picture of the transit of Venus with the relative size of Venus being greatly exaggerated compared to the sun. There are two sets of text; firstly there is a continuous story in a larger font and this is interrupted by the many photos and the text explaining these photos in a smaller font. The net result is to lose continuity, though it is a difficult problem to solve.
The first transit of Venus was observed by Jeremiah Horrocks in England on 6th December 1639 and he wrote an account of his observations. He had advised his friend, William Crabtree of the event and they were the first men to observe a transit of Venus as far as is known. Each successive transit was observed until the present day and Lomb describes the attempts to observe it. He produces a very interesting story of human, patience, endurance and courage. Even though few human beings alive today are likely to see the next transit in 2117, the book is well worth reading from cover as it is full of fascinating information. The book is thoroughly recommended.