Transit of Venus 1769


Transit of Venus


Transit of Venus passage

"Transit of Venus R.A Proctor 1875 New York Brian Greig Collection"

The French, Dutch, English, Germans and Americans took part
in the Southern Hemisphere observations. The Germans went to the
Auckland Islands one of the worst locations possible. The Islands are
better known for the wreck of the General Grant and loss of gold bullion.


Auckland Islands

Castaway on the Auckland Isles "Captain Thomas Musgrave 1866"


Observations carried out by the German
transit party in the Auckland Islands


Observations carried out by the German transit party in the


Brian Greig Collection

Observatory at Campbell Island for the transit of Venus
Passage de Venus mission de isle Campbell

Campbell Island  Observatory

La France avait forme six missions, distrubuees par moitie sur chaque hemisphere, et places a Nagasaki, Pekin, a Saigon, a Noumea, "Nouvelle Caledonie", de isle Saint Paul et a isle Campbell { Grand Ocean Meridional }. Le chefs des missions francaises etainent MM..Jules Janeseen { Le revolver photographique 1873. }, Fleuriais, Heraud, Andre, Admiral Mouchez
{ Carte du Ciel } et Bouquet de la Grye.

France sent 6 expeditions spread over each hemisphere Japan, China, Vietnam, New Caledonia the Island of Saint Paul and Campbell Island in the Great Southern Ocean Jules Janssen was a expert researcher into the composition of te sun, in 1868 he and J.Norman Lockyer were instrumental in finding helium in the solar prominence's around the sun.

Janssen went on to developed a circular photographic plate which could take up to 60 pictures of the suns limb about every second, one after another, a small clockwork mechanism drove the plate around. When T.A.Edison meet Janssen it inspired Edison in the development of moving pictures......"marque aussi une etape dans les progres techniques ayant conduit a L'invention du cinematographe"

Bouquet de la Grye

While Admiral Mouche was perhaps better known for the "Carte du Ciel" a ambitious project to photograph the entire sky { apart from the extreme polar regions. } using observatories around the globe . Melbourne and Sydney Observatories became involved at great cost to their other work. Even today not all the results have been worked out. Both men were at one time presidents of SOCIETE ASTRONOMIQUE DE FRANCE founded by Camille Flammarion. in the 19th Cent.

Recueil de memories. Rapport et documents relatifs a L'observation du Passage de Venus sur le Soleil du Decembre 1874. "Academie des Sciences 1885"


Airy Transit of Venus Simulator

Brian Greig Simulator
Brian Greig Collection

Sir George Biddle Airy made a mechanical simulator for showing the "black drop" effect, see antique sketch known as the Transit of Venus Model. Observers looked through a telescope at the model and practiced with the model planet venus on the limb of the sun. The simulator was driven by a long case astronomical regulator.

Some observers spent 6 months getting in some practice before leaving for their viewing sites around the world and being faced with les phenomena de "guotte noir"
H.C.Russell Director of Sydney Observatory, Australia made his own version of the black drop effect simulator. R.L.J.Ellery also used a model venus at Melbourne Observatory adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Orrerymaker has made a working copy which will be driven by an electric motor, for enquiries visit the above site. You have to supply the telescope.

Airy Simulator

Brian Greig Collection - English Mechanic 1873

A keen observer using a Herschelian reflecting telescope keeping in touch via telegraph
with the English Transit party led by Palmer, near Christchurch, New Zealand.


Keen observer


"The Graphic" March 20 1875 London - Brian Greig Collection


Transit huts Transit huts

Note the 6 inch refractor inside the hut of these were assembled in the grounds of Greenwhich Observatory
for testing and assembly. See also the hut with the lady inside used at Burnham, near Christchurch
New Zealand. Perhaps it's the one in the image to the right hand side that was tested in Greenwich

Prefabricated huts were designed for the 5 main English Transit of Venus expeditions to Egypt,
Sandwich Islands { Honolulu }. Rodriguez, Christchurch New Zealand under the
command of Major H. Palmer, R.E. and Kerguelen Island Rev.Stephen J.Perry.

Science Museum picture Library and National Maritime Museum Greenwich


English compound for viewing the transit of venus and for keeping the locals out! Note the
Royal Marines on guard. This was station"B" at Honolulu, the other four main observing
locations around the globe were also identified in like manner.


English compound for viewing the transit of venus


"The Illustrated London News" Jan 23 1875 - Brian Greig Collection


In side the transit hut with a Troughton and Simms transit instrument about 3 ins in diameter and
focal length of 36-1/2 ins . Note the astronomical regulator number "1916" made by Messrs E.Dent
and Co London in 1870 { it was wound every Sunday at noon} countingsidereal seconds and
the chronometer on the bench to the right.


Inside Transit hut

"Pioneers of Science" O.Lodge 1926 London - Brian Greig Collection




Ellery at the Dallmeyer photo-heliograph


The Australasian Sketcher" Dec 26 1874 - Brian Greig Collection

The Photoheliograph at Melbourne Observatory

A photoheliograph is a telescopic camera for photographing the sun. It was invented in the mid-19th century by Warren De La Rue, astronomer and pioneer photographer. This example was one of several of an improved design constructed by J.H. Dallmeyer of London in 1874. It cost the Colony of Victoria £364, and was installed at Melbourne Observatory in time to photograph the transit of Venus across the face of the sun in 1874. Over the following decades, thousands of its solar images on glass plates were sent to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich for research on the sunspot cycle.

The instrument weighs about 470 kg, but can be dismantled to facilitate transport. It was taken on solar eclipse expeditions to Tasmania, Tonga and Goondiwindi. An alternative lower end on the tube allowed the sun's corona to be photographed during the total phase of the eclipses

Photoheliograph at Melbourne Observatory
© B.A.J. Clark Australia 2004
This Photoheliograph was sold by public tender to an amateur astronomer after the Observatory ceased professional astronomy in 1944. It continued in use at the Observatory until it had to be removed in 1962 as a condition of the sale. After 42 years of storage in suburban homes, it was re-installed in its original dome by courtesy of the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, in time for the June 2004 transit of Venus. Unlike most of the other surviving Dallmeyer photoheliographs, it has not been modernised.

Robert Lewis John Ellery portrait painting from about 1900, some people believe he had a
medical qualification. This is just an old story that will not die. His father and uncle were doctors
and he may have assisted in the surgery. He never signed any document in his own hand apart from
C.M.G. F.R.S F.R.AS. and admitted to the Royal Society London he did not mention in his application
{ as he was asked to do } any special qualifications which could have included that of a
medical practitioner. Even his tombstone makes no mention of it.

Oil painting - Robert Lewis John Ellery

Image courtesy Wolfgang Steinicke Germany


18 inch Altazimuth Instrument { by Troughton and Simms of London} used by
E.J.White in the North Equatorial Dome atop the Melbourne Observatory
{ or now known as the main building } for precise measurements of Venus on the face of the Sun


Altazimuth Instrument


Cyclopaedia Arts & Sciences C.Knight 1861 London - Brian Greig Collection


Transit of Venus over Australia


Transit of Venus over Australia

Essays on Astronomy R.A.Proctor 1872 London - Brian Greig Collection


The Royal Observatory Greenwich Transit of Venus 1874
Brian Greig Collection Observations of the Transit of Venus H.C.Russell 1892 Sydney - Brian Greig Collection


Sydney Observatory three years before the 1874 Transit of Venus. The Director of the
observatory, H.C.Russell produced the book "Observations of the Transit of Venus
9th December 1874 it was finally published in 1892."


Sydney Observatory

Town & Country Journal 1871 September 16 Victoria - Brian Greig Collection