In anticipation of the big day on June 5th, the Providence Athenaeum has organized a tutorial of sorts for this coming Tuesday, May 29th — From Transit Street to the Stars: the Transit of Venus in 1769 and Today.
In June 1769 a cannon fired, a telescope was pointed at the sun, and a group of Rhode Islanders took part in an international research project. What was it all about? On May 29th, exactly one week before your last chance to see the Transit of Venus three experts will explain all. Joan Richards, historian of science at Brown University, will talk about the concerns of an 18th century European world that had to rely on colonials and travelers for information about the Newtonian universe. Historian Jane Lancaster will explain who, how, and why a group of Providence (and Newport) men were so excited and so involved in the Transit of Venus in 1769. David Targan, astronomer and Director of the Ladd Observatory, will briefly explain the astronomical significance of transits, as well as safe ways to observe this year’s event on June 5th.
The Ladd Observatory will be open May 29th from 6pm to 10pm. Prior to sunset, view sunspots through a special solar telescope. Later it’s craters of the moon. See also their special Transit of Venus exhibit.
NASA has a helpful video here . . . where visible, how long . . . Captain Cook sent to Tahiti, naked ladies make him forget why . . . do not stare at the sun, how many times do we have to tell you this . . . blah, blah, blah.
Lecture free and open to the public, 5pm to 7pm, Tuesday, May 29, Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street