Wintersalen Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores

PowellsBooks.Blog

Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.

 

Author Archive: "Mark Anderson"

Venus of Longitude

The Day the World Discovered the Sun by Mark AndersonOn Tuesday, June 5, 2012, people across the world get to witness a rare, celestial shadow play. The planet Venus will, for about seven hours, cross the disk of the sun, a "transit" that happens less than twice per century. (The next Venus transit after Tuesday will be on December 11, 2117.)

And rare as it is, the Venus transit has an outsized impact on the world. The transit launched the legendary careers of Captain Cook and Mason and Dixon — surveyors who wouldn't have staked out the definitive line between American North and South without first proving themselves on a Venus transit voyage. The transit, with the help of a little clever triangulation, enabled science to measure out the distances to the sun and planets with uncanny precision. (So, the transit also lies at the heart of the world's first international, big science project — forefather to the likes of NASA's Apollo program and the Human Genome Project.)

The Venus transit also stands at the crossroads of perhaps the single greatest technological challenge in human ...


spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.