Transit of Venus Plates

Transit of Venus Plates - 1882
The site(s) where these plates were taken is unknown.

Images from photographic plates of the Transit of Venus (Venus crossing the face of the Sun), a very rare phenomenon that last occurred in 1874 and 1882. Wet bromo-iodide plates were used in 1874, but by 1882 dry collodion emulsion plates were available.

The Naval Observatory and Transit of Venus Commission sent 8 parties around the world to observe each of the transits; the results were important for determining the scale of the solar system.

Only 11 plates survive from the American 1882 expeditions; none of the plates from the American 1874 transit expeditions has survived. The most recent transit of Venus occured on June 8, 2004. The next one will occur on June 6, 2012.

Animated Transit of Venus Plates
We've "animated" our 11 existing plates! Click on the thumbnail to see a full-sized AVI...