Venus Seen on the Sun

The First Observation of a Transit of Venus by Jeremiah Horrocks


The treatise by Jeremiah Horrocks (1618-1641) on the transit of Venus of 1639 is an account of an important astronomical observation, as well as an analysis and commentary on the changing state and practice of astronomy during the significant period between the achievements of Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and Isaac Newton (1642-1727). This work has, in addition, the power to delight and charm us as the record of a young astronomer’s encounter with a rare astronomical event and the manner in which he discovered, observed, and drew conclusions from it. Its appeal is heightened by the knowledge that a self-trained young man stole a march on all the astronomers of his day.
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EUR €110.00USD $148.00

Biographical Note

Wilbur Applebaum, Ph.D. (1969) in History, State University of New York, Buffalo, is Professor Emeritus at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He has published books, articles and book reviews on early modern astronomy. He created and edited The Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution from Copernicus to Newton (Garland, 2000; Routledge, 2008, 3rd printing).

Review Quotes

Why this pricey little book when this stuff is available for free?” That was my attitude in initially opening Wilbur Applebaum’s new translation of Jeremiah orrocks’s report on the 1639 transit of Venus. [...] Upon actually reading the book, the reasons why became obvious. This is not just a re-translation of the Hevelius/Whatton publications. [...] This greater fidelity comes at no cost to readability — Applebaum’s translation is delightful.[...] Applebaum’s Venus is not a repeat of, but a valuable addition to, the resources that are already freely available. Published in the year of another transit of Venus, may it stimulate further interest in a fascinating era of astronomical history.
CHRISTOPHER M. GRANEY, Jefferson Community & Technical College in Journal of the History of Astronomy, February 2013 (vol. 44), pp. 120-121.

Table of contents


Chapter 1 The Occasion, Utility, and Excellence of this Observation
Chapter 2 The Manner and History of my Observation
Chapter 3 What Others Observed or Could Have Observed of this Conjunction
Chapter 4 It is Proved that the Spot Observed by Us Was Really Venus Herself
Chapter 5 An Investigation of the Apparent Longitude and Latitude of Venus from the Center of the Sun
Chapter 6 Change of the Apparent Place of Venus into the True
Chapter 7 An Inquiry into the Time and Place of the True Conjunction of the Sun and Venus
Chapter 8 Demonstration of the Node of Venus
Chapter 9 The Beginning, Middle, End, and Magnitude of This Transit
Chapter 10 A Consideration of the Calculations of Astronomers on the Foregoing
Chapter 11 The Calculations of Copernicus
Chapter 12 The Calculation of Lansberge
Chapter 13 The Calculation of Longomont
Chapter 14 The Calculation of Kepler
Chapter 15 Corrections of the Rudolphine Numbers
Chapter 16 On the diameter of Venus
Chapter 17 On the Diameters of the Rest of the Planets, the Proportion of the Celestial Spheres, and the Parallax of the Sun
Chapter 18 The Planets are Dark Bodies


Those interested in the history of astronomy, the history of early modern science, and those eager to observe the next transit of Venus.


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