Transit of Venus

Historical observations of the transit of Venus

Below is an overview of places where the transit of Venus has been observed in the past and which I could identify using Google Earth. The stations are listed by sponsoring country and nationality, following the longitudinal position from west to east. Many entries have links to primary sources. A yellow star indicates that there is a memorial plate or another monument for the observation of the transit of Venus. A black star indicates that relics of a temporary observatory can still be seen. A green star indicates that (part of) the original building from which the observation was made, still stands. If you are interested in the local transit circumstances of a particular observation, follow the times of contact link.
If you would like to see a location on a map, just click on the location’s geographical coordinates or download the Google Earth file. With the sun displayed, looking up and the time restricted to the currently selected folder, you can see how past observers experienced the transit. This file also lists locations which are yet only approximately determined.
You can help me to improve and extend this list. I welcome suggestions and corrections at stevenvanroode[at]yahoo.com.

1639 December 4 (November 24 Old Style)

Young amateur astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks predicted and observed the 1639 transit of Venus. It is commonly stated that he performed his observations from Carr House in Much Hoole, although Horrocks didn’t mention either Carr House or Much Hoole in his report Venus in Sole Visa. Nevertheless, there is a memorial plate at Carr House commemorating the momentous observation by Horrocks. Learn more...[1] [2] [3] [4]
Location: 53°41′12″.9 N, 2°48′54″.3 W    times of contact

Carr House, Much Hoole
Carr House and the memorial plate in Much Hoole. (Picture courtesy of Lancashire County Council)

Amateur astronomer William Crabtree was told by his friend Horrocks of the predicted transit of Venus and he also spotted the planet’s silhouette on the solar disk. Crabtree probably observed from Ivy Cottage in Salford, which is thought most likely to have been the home of Crabtree at the time of the 1639 transit of Venus. At the junction of Lower Broughton Road and Priory Grove in Salford there is a street sign which says ‘Priory Grove Late Crabtree Croft’. A few yards south of that there is a plaque describing the event at 388-90 Lower Broughton Road, which is the location of Ivy Cottage. At Scarr Wheel House, a few hundred yards up the road, there is a circular blue plaque which was first put up to commemorate the event, but this was later found to be not the correct location. Learn more...[1] [2] [3] [4]
Location: 53°30′11″.0 N, 2°16′04″.1 W    times of contact

Ivy Cottage, Salford
The commemorative plaque at Ivy Cottage, Salford.

1761 June 6

NETHERLANDS

Self-made astronomer Jan de Munck constructed his own observatory next to his house De Globe at 126 Zuidsingel in Middelburg in 1736. From this observatory he observed the 1761 transit of Venus with his 10 feet refractor. He also provided a projected image of the sun for a couple of friends, who he invited to watch the phenomenon. The observatory tower was torn down in 1775, but the house is still present, with a plaque commemorating De Munck.
Location: 51°30′09″.9 N, 3°37′01″.0 E    times of contact

Observatory of Jan de Munck, Middelburg House of Jan de Munck, Middelburg
Left: The observatory of Jan de Munck in Middelburg. (Engraving by A. Schouman, 1748) Right: The house of Jan de Munck today. (Picture by Steven van Roode, 2007)

From the residence Zorgvliet of Willem Bentinck van Rhoon astronomer Dirk Klinkenberg observed the 1761 transit of Venus. Early in the morning he watched sunrise with a gregorian telescope from a dune west of Zorgvliet. Later on he went back to Zorgvliet and observed the remaining part of the transit with a cassegrain telescope. Afterwards, Klinkenberg discovered that his time piece was in error of at least ten seconds, making his observations useless. Today, Zorgvliet is known as Catshuis and is the residence of the Dutch prime minister.
Location: 52°05′25″.1 N, 4°17′06″.1 E    times of contact

In the Netherlands the 1761 transit of Venus was observed by several people. Johan Lulofs was professor of mathematics and philosophy at Leiden University and made his observations from the simple university observatory which was located on the roof of the Academy Building. Learn more...
Location: 52°09′25″.5 N, 4°29′08″.1 E    times of contact

Academy Building, Leiden
The university observatory on the roof of the Academy Building in Leiden. (Anonymous, 1712)

In Dordrecht, on the roof of his house at Groenmarkt 2-4, Gerardus Kuypers had a small observatory, constisting of a wooden platform. On the day of the transit there was a large crowd at Kuypers’ observatory. As a result, the floor was moving all the time, making observations of any value impossible.
Location: 51°48′54″.4 N, 4°40′00″.3 E    times of contact

House of Gerardus Kuypers, Dodrecht
The house of Gerardus Kuypers in Dordrecht. Allthough the front of the house has been altered in the nineteenth century, the building still has its flat roof. (Picture by Kees Sigmond of the Werkgroep Wijnstraat van de Vereniging Oud-Dordrecht, 2007)

From the College van Gedeputeerde Staten van Friesland, Wytse Foppes Dongjuma was given Camminghaburg to observe the 1761 transit of Venus. Camminghaburg was an old castle near Leeuwarden, which was then in use as for storage of ammunition. Among the nine students who shared in the observation was probably also Eise Eisinga. Camminghaburg was demolished in 1810 and nothing of the castle can be seen today.
Location: 53°12′48″.6 N, 5°48′41″.2 E    times of contact

GREAT BRITAIN

Financed by the General Assembly of Massachusetts John Winthrop packed up two young student assistants, Samuel Williams and Isaac Rand, an excellent clock, an octant and two telescopes, and embarked for St. John’s, Newfoundland to observe the transit of Venus in 1761. Winthrop’s exact position is not known, but the very top of Kenmount Hill seems to be the most propable location. His observation is commemorated with a plaque on an armillary sphere opposite the Henrietta Harvey Building on St. John’s campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 47°32′01″ N, 52°47′26″ W    times of contact

Plaque in St. John′s
Armillary sphere in St. John’s with a plaque to commemorate the observation by John Winthrop. (Picture courtesy of Fred Smith)

From Powderham Castle near Exeter, William Chapple and a friend tried to catch a glimpse of the rumoured satellite of Venus during its transit across the sun. They only found two sunspots, which were seen in a line with Venus, but did not follow the planet’s motion.
Location: 50°38′34″.4 N, 3°27′37″.1 W    times of contact

From his farmhouse Underwood in Mosser near Cockermouth, West Cumberland, yeoman farmer Isaac Fletcher observed the 1761 transit of Venus, together with George Bell and Elihu Robinson. They set up a solar telescope and watched the projected image of the sun on a white cloth. During the transit, clouds sometimes interfered. Soon after the transit ended, thick clouds covered the complete sky. Learn more...
Location: 54°36′36″.5 N, 3°22′54″.3 W    times of contact

The president of the Royal Society, George Parker, 2nd Earl of Macclesfield, had built an observatory at his residence, Shirburn Castle near Oxford. Here Thomas Hornsby observed the 1761 transit of Venus, together with two assistants of Parker, John Bartlett and Thomas Phelps. The morning at first seemed unpromising, yet the clouds began to disperse and Hornsby made many measurements of the differences of Venus and the sun’s limb. Learn more...
Location: 51°39′30″.1 N, 0°59′39″.6 W    times of contact

In 1761 Samuel Dunn, master of the academy at Ormonde House in Chelsea, took advantage of the good observatory located at the school to observe the transit of Venus. For the occasion, Dunn had constructed an angular micrometer to measure the diameter of Venus and the planet’s distance to the sunspots. Today, Ormonde House has been demolished. Learn more...
Location: 51°29′12″.8 N, 0°09′37″.7 W    times of contact

In 1761 the Duke of York wanted to observe the rare transit of Venus and asked James Short to attend him on that occasion at his residence, Savile House in London. Short planned to measure the distance of Venus from the sun’s limb, but clouds prevented these observations at the start of the transit. However, about an hour before egress the sun was perfectly clear during the remainder of the transit and he could time both interior and exterior contact. Savile House, at 5–6 Leicester Square, was destroyed by fire in 1865. Learn more...
Location: 51°30′38″.9 N, 0°07′50″.4 W    times of contact

At the Royal Observatory in Greenwich the 1761 transit of Venus was observed by Nathaniel Bliss. The Astronomer Royal, James Bradley, wasn’t able to take part in the observations due to poor health. The sky was very cloudy the morning of the transit, till the end of the transit was approaching, when is was tolerable clear. Bliss timed both the interior and exterior contact at egress. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 51°28′40″.8 N, 0°00′07″.1 W    times of contact

In 1761 the reverend William Hirst observed the transit of Venus on top of the colonial governor’s house in Fort St George, at Madras in India. At the terrace of the fort house Hirst, governor George Pigot and Mr. Call called at their instruments. At interior contact at ingress, Hirst noticed that the planet Venus resembled more the form of a bergamot pear instead of appearing truly circular. Today, the terrace doesn’t exist anymore. Learn more...
Location: 13°04′46″.6 N, 80°17′14″.2 E    times of contact

FRANCE

At the priory of Saint-Lô in Rouen, prior Jean Bouin had an observatory. From this observatory he watched the 1761 transit of Venus, together with brother Jarnard. At sunrise, he started with a 6-feet telescope and at egress continued with a 9-feet telescope. Vincent Dulague, professor of hydrography at Rouen, was also present. He used a 4-feet telescope at first, and changed to a 16-feet telescope at egress. Today, only a portal of the ancient church of the priory is still present as part of the Lycée Camille Saint Saëns. Learn more...
Location: 49°26′32″.3 N, 1°05′37″.6 E    times of contact

From the philosophical and optical chamber of King Louis XV at the Château de la Muette near Paris, Swedish astronomer Bengt Ferner observed the 1761 transit of Venus. He was accompanied by astronomer Jean-Paul Grandjean de Fouchy and the king’s chief scientist father Noël. Today, the original Château de la Muette has completely disappeared. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 48°51′31″.1 N, 2°16′17″.4 E    times of contact

At the Observatoire Royal in Paris astronomer Jean-Dominique Maraldi observed the 1761 transit of Venus with a six feet telescope, equipped with a micrometer. Around the disk of Venus Maraldi discerned a reddish glow, which he attributed to the fatigueness of his eyes. Learn more...
Location: 48°50’10″.8 N, 2°20′11″.4 E    times of contact    streetview

During the first hours after sunrise, persistent clouds in the east permitted Joseph-Jérôme le François de Lalande to make only few observations from the Palais du Luxembourg in Paris. Only after seven het was able to measure the distances between the limbs of Venus and the sun with a heliometer. At the end of the transit, he could time the last two contacts under favourable conditions. The dome at the entrance of the Palais du Luxembourg, facing the Rue de Tournon, had been used for astronomical observations before. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 48°50′56″.9 N, 2°20′14″.3 E    times of contact    streetview

From the Observatoire de la Marine at the Hôtel de Cluny in Paris, Charles-Joseph Messier observed the 1761 transit of Venus. The observatory, a wood and glass structure consisting of a pyramidal framework with opening windows, was built on top of the tower. The observatory dome was later removed from the tower.
Location: 48°51′01″.4 N, 2°20′39″.0 E    times of contact    streetview

At the abbey of Saint Geneviève its librarian Alexandre-Gui Pingré had a small observatory. Pingré observing on Rodrigues Island, the observatory was used by Joseph-Nicolas Delisle to watch the 1761 transit of Venus. Delisle was a key figure in the international preparations for the transit enterprise. Today, the Lycée Henri IV occupies the abbey’s buildings. Learn more...
Location: 48°50′46″.2 N, 2°20′52″.6 E    times of contact    streetview

From the tower of the episcopal palace in Béziers, Jean Bouillet, his son Jean-Henri-Nicolas, Mr. De Manse and the bishop of Béziers, Joseph-Bruno de Bausset de Roquefort, observed the transit. The night before, they slept at the palace and before sunrise went to the tower. They used a telescope of 7 feet focal length and one of 24 feet. Learn more...
Location: 43°20′29″.1 N, 3°12′33″.0 E    times of contact

From the observatory on the Tour de la Babote in Montpellier, France, Barthélemy Tandon observed the 1761 transit of Venus. Other members of the Société Royale des Sciences de Montpellier, like Etienne-Hyacinthe de Rotte and Jean-Baptiste Romieu, were also present. Today, the Fédération d’astronomie populaire amateur du Midi makes use of the building.
Location: 43°36′23″.3 N, 3°52′38″.6 E    times of contact

From the observatory of the Jesuit Collège de la Trinité in Lyon, professor of mathematics Laurent Béraud observed the two contacts at egress with a telescope of 19 feet. The observatory building consisted of an eight stories′ square tower built on top of the college’s church. It was destroyed in 1793 during the siege of Lyon. Learn more...
Location: 45°45’55″.8 N, 4°50′14″.5 E    times of contact

In April 1761, after a five month’s journey, the Abbé Jean-Baptiste Chappe d’Auteroche reached Tobolsk in Siberia, east of the Ural Mountains. He set up his wooden observatory on a plateau just outside the town. The observation of the transit of Venus went well, but Chappe had to take precautions to the fury of the local inhabitants, who thought he was a magician. Efforts are now being made to install a plaque on the hill to commemorate the observation. Learn more...[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Location: 58°11’43″.4 N, 68°15′29″.1 E    times of contact

Observation of the transit of Venus by Chappe d′Auteroche Site of Chappe’s observatory
Left: Observation of the transit of Venus by Chappe d’Auteroche. Right: Eric Elst at the site of Chappe’s observatory, just outside Tobolsk. (Picture courtesy of Eric Elst)

SWEDEN

From the observatory of the university of Lund, located on top of the round tower of the Lundagårdshuset professor of mathematics Nils Schenmark observed the 1761 transit of Venus. Due to clouds only the last stages of the external contact at egress could be seen. Schenmark observed with a refractor of 21 feet focal length, while his collegue, Johan Henrik Burmester, used a refractor of 16 feet focal length. Learn more...
Location: 55°42′19″.4 N, 13°11′38″.7 E    times of contact

From the observatory founded by Anders Celsius in Uppsala, Sweden, astronomer Mårten Strömer observed the 1761 transit of Venus. Strömer was assisted by Torben Bergman and Metlander Mallet. The observatory was constructed on the rooftop of a medieval building in the centre of Uppsala. Today, the building still exists, but the observatory tower was dismounted in 1857. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 59°51′35″.6 N, 17°38′13″.0 E    times of contact

Observatory Uppsala Observations by Bergman
Left: The observatory at Uppsala, Sweden, in the 1760’s. (Engraving by F. Akrel, 1769) Right: Observations of the aureole and the black drop by Torben Bergman.

In Stockholm, at the Observatory of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the head of the observatory, Pehr Wilhelm Wargentin, and Samuel Klingenstierna observed the 1761 transit of Venus. Wargentin made use of a 21 feet telescope, while Klingenstierna used a 10 feet telescope by Dollond with a power of 140 times. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 59°20′29″.4 N, 18°03′16″.6 E    times of contact

DENMARK

In 1761 the Danish Astronomer Royal, Christian Horrebow, presided the observations made at the Rundetaarn, a high observatory tower in the centre of Copenhagen. Although the weather was perfect, the results were rediculed due to the observer’s inability to keep correct track of the time.
Location: 55°40′53″.0 N, 12°34′32″.8 E    times of contact

RUSSIA

At St Petersburg Observatory, located on the roof of the Imperial Academy of Sciences (modern Kunstkamera), Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov did a special observation during the 1761 transit of Venus. Just before ingress and just after egress, he noticed a bright ring of light around Venus’ outline. Lomonosov correctly attributed this aureole to the planet’s atmosphere. While Lomonosov focused on the observation of physical phenomena, astronomers Andrey Krasilnikov and Nikolay Kurganov carried out the contact observations. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 59°56′29″.4 N, 30°18′16″.1 E    times of contact

GERMANY

In spring of 1761 astronomer Christian Mayer set up three small observatory buildings in front of the orangery in the gardens of Schwetzingen Castle, Germany. One was for a quadrant, another for a telescope by Dollond and one for a clock. Together with Elector Carl Theodor, who was ill on the day of the transit, he observed the transit of Venus under rainy conditions; egress couldn’t be timed with certainty because of intervening clouds. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 49°23′07″.7 N, 8°33′56″.4 E    times of contact

The first observatory of Würzburg University was established in 1757 and located on the tower of the Neubaukirche. From this observatory professor of mathematics and astronomy Franz Huberti observed the 1761 transit of Venus with a reflecting telescope. A stone marker commemorates the observatory and Huberti’s observation of the transit of Venus. Learn more...
Location: 49°47′25″.6 N, 9°55′55″.8 E    times of contact

Plaque commemorating Franz Huberti
The stone marker at the Neubaukirche commemorating the observation by Franz Huberti. (Picture by Albert Engert)

From the observatory of Göttingen in Germany, astronomer Tobias Mayer observed the 1761 transit of Venus with a telescope of 12 feet focal length. The observatory was located on a medieval tower and was also furnished with a mural quadrant by Bird and a reflector. After the observatory already moved to another location in the early nineteenth century, the tower was demolished in 1897. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 51°31′49″.3 N, 9°56′06″.0 E    times of contact

Observatory tower in Göttingen
The observatory tower in Göttingen. (Engraving by Joel Paul Kaltenhofer, 1773)

From the Toplerhaus in Nürnberg, physician Georg Friedrich Kordenbusch observed both contacts at egress with a Gregorian reflector. In 1945 the Toplerhaus was completely destroyed by an Allied air raid.
Location: 49°27′29″.3 N, 11°04′44″.5 E    times of contact

Toplerhaus, Nurnberg
The Toplerhaus in Nürnberg, 1935. Completely destroyed in 1945. (Picture courtesy of Bildarchiv Foto Marburg)

From the observatory of the monastery Berge near Magdeburg Georg Christoph Silberschlag observed the 1761 transit of Venus together with Heinrich Wilhelm Bachmann. The atmosphere of Venus was clearly seen by the observers. The monastery was demolished in 1813 by the French.
Location: 52°06′52″ N, 11°38′01″ E    times of contact

Kloster Berge, Magdeburg
The monastery Berge near Magdeburg, as seen from the northwest in 1780. The observatory was located in the tower on the right, assigned C.

A farmer-astronomer, Johann Georg Palitzsch lived in Prohlis near Dresden. In 1761 he observed the transit of Venus with two telescopes. One was used to project the solar image and the with the other he looked at the sun directly. At egress, Palitzsch saw the blackdrop effect and the aureole. Today, only two buildings of the original farm still stand, which house the Heimat- und Palitzschmuseum. In 1877, the city of Dresden honored him with a monument at the northeast corner of Prohliser Straße and Gamigstraße, next to his former residence.
Location: 51°00′26″.4 N, 13°47′35″.8 E    times of contact

Palitzschhof, Prohlis
A model of the farm of Johann Georg Palitzsch in the Heimat- und Palitzschmuseum. (Picture courtesy of Museen der Stadt Dresden)

In Tolkewitz near Dresden, not far from the farm of Johann Palitzsch in Prohlis, other farmer-astronomer Christian Gärtner also observed the 1761 transit of Venus. His farm stood till the 1990’s.
Location: 51°01′51″.1 N, 13°49′52″.6 E    times of contact

Jesuit astronomer Franciscus Weiss observed the last contact of the 1761 transit of Venus from the mathematical tower of the Jesuit College in Tyrnau (modern Trnava in Slovakia). He used a reflector of 4 feet focal length. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 48°22′50″.4 N, 17°35′20″.0 E    times of contact

POLAND

From the terrace of the Zaluski Public Library in Warsaw, Jesuit father Stefan Luskina observed the 1761 transit of Venus. Luskina was trained in astronomy in Vienna and professor of mathematics and physics at the Jesuit College in Warsaw. On the day of the transit, he showed the phenomenon to a number of well-born ladies and noblemen.
Location: 52°14′43″.2 N, 21°00′27″.4 E    times of contact

Zaluski Public Library
The building of the Zaluksi Public Library. (Painting by Zygmunt Vogel, about 1800)

AUSTRIA

From the observatory of the monastery of Kremsmünster, father Eugen Dobler observed the 1761 transit of Venus. He was accompanied by prelate Bertholdi and other clergymen. Learn more...
Location: 48°03′18″.6 N, 14°07′53″.8 E    times of contact

In 1729 Felix Freiherr von Ehrmann zum Schlug had built an observatory tower next to his Schloß Wetzlas near Pölla in Austria to do astronomical observations. From this observatory tower he observed the 1761 transit of Venus and timed the last two contacts. He used a reflecting telescope of 4 feet focal length. Learn more...
Location: 48°36′10″.7 N, 15°24′11″.0 E    times of contact

Observatory tower of Schloß Wetzlas
The observatory tower of Schloß Wetzlas, dating from 1729. (Picture courtesy of Gabriele Plauensteiner)

In 1761 the director of the Imperial Observatory in Vienna, Jesuit father Maximilian Hell, observed the transit of Venus. The Vienna observatory had been constructed just a few years earlier on the roof of the university building, which today houses the Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 48°12′32″.0 N, 16°22′37″.2 E    times of contact

Located close to the Imperial Observatory, the Jesuit College in Vienna possesed an observatory tower of 45 meters hight. From this tower father Joseph Xavier Liesganig observed the 1761 transit of Venus. He was accompanied by César-François Cassini de Thury, director of the Royal Observatory in Paris. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 48°12′30″.1 N, 16°22′41″.7 E    times of contact

Observatory tower in Vienna
The observatory tower of the Jesuit College in Vienna.

ITALY

In the Giardini Reali in Turin, Giovanni Battista Beccaria set up a quadrant of 3 feet focal length on a tripod to observe the 1761 transit of Venus. Beccaria was assisted by Canonica, who wrote down the times and the measured distances, and Revelli, who observed with a refractor of 40 feet focal length. Beccaria also had an observatory tower nearby at 1 Via Po (which still exists), but most likely he didn’t use it on this occasion. Learn more...
Location: 45°04′21 N, 7°41′21 E    times of contact

From his small observatory established on the upper grounds of the convent of San Giovanni in Florence, Jesuit father Leonardo Ximenes observed the 1761 transit of Venus. He used a Newtonian reflector of 4 Parisian feet. Learn more...
Location: 43°46′27″.8 N, 11°15′18″.5 E    times of contact

From the upper room of the observatory tower of the University of Bologna, Eustachio Zanotti observed the 1761 transit of Venus together with two assistants. In a lower chamber was father Frisi, accompanied by two other colleagues. In the logbook, Zanotti’s observations are dated June 5 instead of June 6. That’s because at Bologna observatory the sunset time was assumed as the beginning of the astronomical day. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 44°29′48″.5 N, 11°21′07″.8 E    times of contact

Observatory tower in Bologna
In the centre of the picture, just to right of the church tower, is the observatory tower at Bologna. The tower is partly obscured by restauration works. (Picture by Steven van Roode, 2006)

From his home in Padova Giovanni Poleni observed the 1761 transit of Venus. His home was located at 5 Via Beato Pellegrino and contained a physics laboratory on the ground floor and a library on the first floor. Unfortunately, Poleni was clouded out. Learn more...
Location: 45°24′49″.2 N, 11°52′19″.4 E    times of contact

From his small observatory at the novitiate’s loggia at the convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, Giovanni Battista Audiffredi observed the transit of Venus with a refractor of about 2 metres focal length, equipped with a micrometer, and a refractor of 4.25 metres focal length by Eustachio Divini. The first was used to observe Venus during the transit and the latter to observe the egress. Learn more...[1] [2] [3] [4]
Location: 41°53′56″.1 N, 12°28′42″.9 E    times of contact

A few days before the transit, on 1761 June 3, there was a lecture at the Seminario Romano on the transit of Venus. The history of the phenomenon, the observing methods and the use of the results were spoken of. On June 6, the transit was observed by Agostino Salluzzo with an excellent Newtonian telescope.
Location: 41°53′57″.2 N, 12°28′44″.2 E    times of contact

From the observatory of the Collegio Romano, of which he was director, Giuseppe Maria Asclepi observed the transit of Venus. He used a 5-Roman palms quadrant, a 12-Roman palms refractor by Eustachio Divini and an 8-Roman palms refractor. Asclepi was assisted by Andrea Spagni, who observed with a 20-Roman palms Huygens refractor. The Collegio Romano didn’t have a permanent observatory building at the time, so the exact location of the observation remains unclear.
Location: 41°53′53″.2 N, 12°28′48″.3 E    times of contact

Probably from a terrace François Jacquier observed the transit of Venus at the convent of Trinità dei Monti in Rome. Together with Thomas Le Seur he used instruments of which the dimensions are not mentioned.
Location: 41°54′22″.3 N, 12°29′00″.3 E    times of contact

PORTUGAL

The Colégio dos Nobres was founded in Lisbon in March 1761. From the grounds of the new college Miguel António Ciera observed the transit of Venus. Today, the building houses the Museo de Ciência.
Location: 38°43′03″.8 N, 9°09′02″.8 W    times of contact

In the grounds of the convent which was once located on the same block as the modern Igreja dos Congregados in Porto, Teodoro de Almeida observed the 1761 transit of Venus. He used a two feet Gregorian reflector, fitted with a green and a smoked glass, and managed to time both interior and exterior contact at egress. He also measured the diameter of Venus. De Almeida had to do the observation in cognita because he was being pursued by the Marquis of Pombal. Learn more...
Location: 41°08′46″.7 N, 8°36′39″.2 W    times of contact

Igreja dos Congregados, Porto
The Convent and Church of Congregados in Porto. Though the exact place where De Almeida performed his observations is unknown, he might well have used the high tower. (Drawing by Joaquim Vilanova, 1833. Picture courtesy of Biblioteca Pública Municipal do Porto)

At the observatory of the abbey of Saint Geneviève in Paris José Joaquim Soares de Barros e Vasconcelos watched the 1761 transit of Venus together with Jospeh-Nicolas Delisle. Soares de Barros had just been appointed secretary of the Portuguese embassy. He was educated in astronomy by Delisle a few years earlier when they observed the 1753 transit of Mercury together.
Location: 48°50′46″.2 N, 2°20′52″.6 E    times of contact

SPAIN

At the Colegio Imperial de la Compañía de Jesús in Madrid, German Jesuit Father Christian Rieger observed the 1761 transit of Venus. Today, the building still exists but is called Iglesia Colegiata de San Isidoro. Learn more...
Location: 40°24′46″.6 N, 3°42′26″.2 W    times of contact

1769 June 3

NETHERLANDS

In the Dutch East Indies, the Reverend Johan Maurits Mohr undertook to build a fully equipped private observatory in Batavia in 1765 (now Djakarta, Indonesia). He observed the 1761 transit of Venus also from Batavia, but with just a few simple and unreliable instruments. Now, eight years later, he owned a marvelous observatory with the best astronomical instruments available. Mohr could observe the egress of Venus “bright, sharp and precisely”. The observatory was damaged by an earthquake in 1780 and demolished in 1812. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 6°08′37″.9 S, 106°48′46″.5 E    times of contact

Observatory of Johan Mohr, Batavia
The observatory of Johan Maurits Mohr in Batavia. (Architectural drawing by J. Clement, 1768)

GREAT BRITAIN

In April 1769 after an eight months journey James Cook, commanding the Endeavour, arrived at Tahiti to observe the transit of Venus for the Royal Society. To secure his temporary observatory he constructed a fort at a northern promontory called Point Venus. On the day of the transit the sky was clear and Cook could observe the whole transit, assisted by Joseph Banks and astronomer Charles Green. There is a monument close to the lighthouse at Point Venus to commemorate Cook’s observation, but the plaque has been stolen en never replaced. Learn more...[1] [2] [3] [4]
Location: 17°29′42″.8 S, 149°29′40″.8 W    times of contact

Fort Venus Cook monument
Left: The fortified observatory of James Cook at Point Venus on Tahiti. (Engraving by Samuel Middiman) Right: The stolen plaque on the monument commemorating Cook’s observation. (Picture courtesy of Joseph Carr, 1978)

By order of the Royal Society William Wales and Joseph Dymond observed the 1769 transit of Venus from Prince of Wales Fort, Manitoba, Canada. The fort was located on Hudson Bay on the west bank of the Churchill river. They constructed two observatories on the south east bastion of the fort. These observatories had been designed by John Smeaton, civil engineer of the Royal Society. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 58°47′48″.7 N, 94°12′46″.6 W    times of contact

In 1769 David Rittenhouse observed the transit of Venus from an observatory built on his own farm in Norriton, near Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. Rittenhouse, a distinguished clock and instrument maker, noticed a faint halo around the planet before ingress. Nowadays the place is indicated by a historical marker at the driveway entrance of 1033 West Germantown Pike, Norristown. The original observatory was 700 feet north-east from the marker. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 40°09′29″.3 N, 75°22′02″.9 W    times of contact

Historical marker for the Rittenhouse Observatory
Historical marker near the place where Rittenhouse’s observatory at Norristown was located. (Picture courtesy of Barry Johnson)

From an observatory on State House Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania John Ewing observed the 1769 transit of Venus. During the event curious crowds filled the square, doing their own observing through pieces of smoked glass. The observatory was located 40 feet due west from the rear door of the present Philosophical Hall and the same distance south from the present eastern wing of the State House. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 39°56′55″.4 N, 75°08′58″.9 W    times of contact    streetview

Southwest of the town of Lewes, Delaware, from a house in a retired situation, Owen Biddle, Joel Bailey and Richard Thomas observed the 1769 transit of Venus. Biddle used a refracting telescope on a equatorial mounting magnifying 150 times, while Bailey used a telescope by Dolland mountd on ball and socket. Exterior and interior contatcs at ingress where seen by both men. Learn more...
Location: 38°46′12″.9 N, 75°08′20″.6 W    times of contact

From his residence Stirling Manor in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, William Alexander (Lord Stirling) observed the 1769 transit. The house burnt down in the mid-1800s and was replaced by another, which in turn burnt in 1919. In 1920 the present house was built. Only the cellar of Stirling′s original house still exists as part of the current house.
Location: 40°41’41″.4 N, 74°31′48″.8 W    times of contact

In Providence, Rhode Island, Benjamin West erected a temporary observatory on the crest of a hill one hundred feet east of Benefit Street at wat is now known as Transit Street. A 4-inch Gregorian reflecting telescope and a measuring device were purchased by Joseph Brown from Watkins and Smith of London. On the day of the transit, while crowds of curious spectators gathered at the observatory, West, Brown and Governor Stephen Hopkins made their observations until sunset. The telescope used by West is now on display in the John Hay Library at Brown University. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 41°49′13″ N, 71°24′04″ W    times of contact    streetview

From his new house just two and a half miles outside Québec, surveyor-general Samuel Holland observed the 1769 transit of Venus together with S. Germain of the Québec Seminary. In March, when he moved in, he started determining the latitude and longitude of the place right away. On the day of the transit, he could time first contact, but the observation of the second contact was prevented by intervening clouds. The house of Holland was demolished in 1843 and replaced by a new residence, which in turn was torn down in 1967 to make place for the YWCA. Learn more...[1] [2] [3] [4]
Location: 46°47′40″.2 N, 71°15′04″.6 W    times of contact

Holland House
The house of Samuel Holland along Chemin Ste Foy near Québec. The cupola served as an astronomical observatory, but was added after 1780.

From his house in 14 Clarke Street, Newport, the Reverend Ezra Stiles observed the transit of Venus on a fine serene day. Stiles was with William Vernon at the meridional threads, while Henry Merchant was at the 18-inch reflective telescope, Benjamin King at the tube of the quadrant and Henry Thurston with a good prospective. In the house were two clocks, one of Christopher Townsend and one of Stiles. Each clock was watched by two assistants. Learn more...
Location: 41°29′21″.6 N, 71°18′48″.1 W    times of contact

In May 1769 Samuel Williams was invited by Tristram Dalton to observe the transit of Venus from his country house in Newbury, Massachusetts. The estate, of Georgian architecture, was in a high elevated location, which was very convenient for the purpose. They observed with a reflecting telescope by Nairne, magnifying about 55 times. Dalton’s original country house was on Pipe Stave Hill in modern West Newbury, but has been demolished in the nineteenth century.
Location: 42°48′31″.8 N, 70°57′43″.9 W    times of contact

In 1769 Charles Mason travelled to the townland of Cavan in the county of Donegal to observe the transit of Venus on behalf of the Royal Society. The instruments, a 12-inch quadrant by Bird, a 2-foot Gregorian telescope and a clock by Shelton, were housed in an observatory with a movable top. Mason observed both cotacts at ingress. His exact observing location is unknown, but it is believed that Mason observed from the vicinity of a farmhouse just north of Cavan. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 54°51′47″.8 N, 7°30′04″.8 W    times of contact

From the villa of Lord Alemoor at Hawkhill near Edinburgh, three observers watched the 1769 transit of Venus. From the nearby observatory with a movable roof James Lind observed with a 2-feet achromatic telescope. On the ground-floor of the villa was James Hoy with a 3½-feet achromatic telescope and on the floor above was Andrew Pringle, Lord Alemoor, with an 18-inch reflector. The day was cloudy with occasional showers. However, at the time of ingress, the clouds disappeared and both contacts at ingress could be timed. Lind’s telescope is now at the Science Museum, London. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 55°57′49″.8 N, 3°09′34″.0 W    times of contact

At the observatory of his large Austhorpe Lodge estate, near Leeds, engineer John Smeaton tried to observe the 1769 transit of Venus, but was clouded out. The observatory consisted of a square tower, four stories high, standing apart from his house, which also contained a shop and study. The Lodge was demolished in the late 1930’s. The next day, Smeaton was successfull in observing the solar eclipse.
Location: 53°47′55″.2 N, 1°26′20″.5 W    times of contact

Smeaton Observatory Smeaton Observatory
Left: Drawing of Austhorpe Lodge, from Samuel Smiles, Lives of the Engineers II (1861), p. 74. Right: The remains of the observatory tower in the grounds of Austhorpe Lodge. (Picture courtesy of Leeds Library & Information Services)

In Oxford, in the upper room of the Tower of the Five Orders, Thomas Hornsby observed the 1769 transit of Venus. He timed the internal contact at ingress as accurate as the unsteadiness of the floor would permit with refractors of 12 feet and 7.5 feet focal length. Due to the black drop effect, Hornsby estimated the uncertainty of his timing to be about one minute. Learn more...
Location: 51°45′14″.8 N, 1°15′14″.7 W    times of contact    streetview

From the observatory at Shirburn Castle, Thomas Parker, 3rd Earl of Macclesfield, observed the 1769 transit of Venus, together with two assistants John Bartlett and Thomas Phelps. In the afternoon the sky was free of clouds, but charged with vapour. This occasioned a constant undulation of the solar limb. Learn more...
Location: 51°39′30″.1 N, 0°59′39″.6 W    times of contact

England’s first ecologist Gilbert White observed the 1769 transit of Venus from his own garden in Selborne, Hampshire. According to White, the spot of Venus was very visible to the unaided eye when the sun was very low just before sunset. Today, the house of White in Selborne is a museum.
Location: 51°05′51″.0 N, 0°56′36″.3 W    times of contact

From the Round Tower at Windsor Castle Daniel Harris observed the 1769 transit of Venus. At the day of the transit nobody was admitted into the Round Tower but Harris and his assistants. The weather was very favourable, exept for the wind. Learn more...
Location: 51°29′02″.3 N, 0°36′15″.5 W    times of contact

In 1769 an observatory was designed at Richmond, Kew specifically for the royal family to observe the transit of Venus. With a reflecting telescope made by James Short, George III was the first to observe external contact. Learn more...
Location: 51°28′08″.0 N, 0°18′52″.8 W    times of contact

The eminent merchant and amateur astronomer Alexander Aubert observed the 1769 transit of Venus from his home at 26 Austin Friars, London. He used a cassegrain reflector by Short with a focal length of two feet. Learn more...
Location: 51°30′54″.6 N, 0°05′08″.2 W    times of contact

From his home at 3 Spital Square, London, physicist John Canton observed the 1769 transit of Venus. His observations were made under disadvantageous circumstances of being on top of the house and seeing through smoke. The house was demolished in the 1920’s. Learn more...
Location: 51°31′13″.0 N, 0°04′35″.5 W    times of contact

At the Royal Observatory in Greenwich the 1769 transit of Venus was observed by Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne. The weather had been cloudy and rainy all day, but towards the approach of Venus’ ingress on the sun, the sky cleared. Maskelyne could time both external and internal contact at ingress. He observed the aureole and the black drop effect. Learn more...
Location: 51°28′40″.8 N, 0°00′07″.1 W    times of contact

FRANCE

Accompanied by Spanish officers, astronomer Jean-Baptiste Chappe d’Auteroche set of for a long journey to the southern tip of Baja California, where he arrived in May 1769. He converted an abandoned barn on the grounds of the mission of San José del Cabo Auñuití into an observatory. His expedition was a success, but afterwards almost all of Chappe’s staff, including the astronomer himself, died of an epidemic. At the Casa de la Cultura there is a plaque commemorating the expedition. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 23°03′47″ N, 109 °41′40″ W    times of contact

Funeral procession of Chappe d′Auteroche
Funeral procession of Chappe d’Auteroche at the mission of San José del Cabo Auñuiti in 1769. (Water colour by Alexandre-Jean Noël. Courtesy of Musée du Louvre, Département des Arts graphiques)

On the roof of his house in the Rue des Fleurs in Toulouse, François Garipuy had an octogonal observatory measuring 6.5 meters in diameter. From here, he timed internal contact at ingress observing with a gregorian telescope of 22 inch, equipped with a heliometer and a micrometer. After Garipuy’s death in 1782 the observatory was used by the Académie des Sciences until 1846, when a new observatory was built in Toulouse. There is a stone marker commemorating the observatory.
Location: 43°35′38″.9 N, 1°26′45″.4 E    times of contact    streetview

From the observatory at his house in 8 Rue Darquier in Toulouse, Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix observed the 1769 transit of Venus. He used a reflector of 18 inch made by Short. The setting sun became visible from behind low clouds only a quarter of an hour before the interior contact at ingress. Darquier observed this phase with great attention and judged that he timed the contact quite accurately. There is plaque commemorating Darquier. Learn more...
Location: 43°35′41″.6 N, 1°26′46″.8 E    times of contact    streetview

At the Cabinet de Physique of King Louis XV at the Château de la Muette near Paris astronomer Jean-Paul Grandjean de Fouchy observed the 1769 transit of Venus. The building of the Cabinet de Physique was in the extremity of the garden. De Fouchy was accompanied by Gabriel de Bory and Jean-Sylvain Bailly. Two others, father Noël and Abbé Bourriot, also took part in the observations. Today, the original Château de la Muette has completely disappeared. Learn more...
Location: 48°51′31″.1 N, 2°16′17″.4 E    times of contact

In spring 1769 a new observatory had been constructed at the École Royale Militaire in Paris. However, professor of mathematics Edmé-Sébastien Jeaurat didn’t make use of it for observing the 1769 transit of Venus, because from the observatory he couldn’t follow the sun until sunset. Instead, he installed his instruments in a room in one of the new pavillions of the building. Learn more...
Location: 48°51′09″ N, 2°18′12″ E    times of contact

At the Observatoire Royal in Paris several persons observed the 1769 transit of Venus. Director of the observatory César-François Cassini de Thury was in charge of the observations. Other observers were Michel Ferdinand d’Albert d’Ailly (Duc de Chaulnes) and Achille-Pierre Dionis du Séjour. Astronomer Jean-Dominique Maraldi also took part in the observations. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 48°50′10″.8 N, 2°20′11″.4 E    times of contact    streetview

At the Collège Mazarin Joseph-Jérôme le François de Lalande observed the transit of Venus from the observatory founded by Nicholas Louis de la Caille. The observatory consisted of a small tower built on the solid arches next to the dome of the chapel. Lalande had a fine achromatic telescope by Dollond. However, due to rain he wasn’t able to observe the interior contact at ingress directly. He was accompanied by abbé Marie, who was professor of mathematics at the college. Learn more...
Location: 48°51′25″.8 N, 2°20′12″.7 E    times of contact    streetview

At the observatory tower of the Collège Louis-le-Grand, there were two observing parties: Charles Messier and Boudoin on the upper floor and Turgot and Zannoni on the lower floor. Messier observed with an achromatic telescope of 12 feet focal length, but was hindered by clouds and rain. Learn more...
Location: 48°51′25″.8 N, 2°20′12″.7 E    times of contact

Tour de
The observatory tower at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, Paris. (Picture by François Blateyron)

French astronomer Guillaume le Gentil de la Galaisière was very unfortunate in observing the transit of Venus. In 1761 he was heading for Pondicherry, a prominent French fortified town in India. But before his arrival the town was captured by the British and razed to the ground. In 1769, when Pondicherry was again under French control, Le Gentil set up his instruments in the ruins of the former Governor’s palace, but was clouded out on the crucial moment. Learn more...
Location: 11°56’03″.9 N, 79°50′02″.4 E    times of contact

Ruins of Pondicherry, 1769
The ruins of Pondicherry in 1769 seen from the north. Le Gentil’s observatory was in the structure to the right of the flag pole.

GERMANY

In 1764 a new observatory was built on the roof in the centre of the castle. It consisted of a cupper covered dome measuring 3.25 meters. From this new observatory Prince Franz Xaver von Sachsen tried to observe the 1769 transit of Venus, but bad weather made it impossible to see Venus on the setting sun.
Location: 49°23′02″.5 N, 8°34′14″.3 E    times of contact

From the tower of the Dreieinigkeitskirche in Sankt Georg near Hamburg, German astronomer Johann Elert Bode observed the 1769 transit of Venus. The sun set shortly after the start of the transit, but Bode could observe ingress. The tower and the church were almost completely destroyed in 1943 during an air raid. In the 1950’s the church was rebuilt and the tower was reconstructed.
Location: 53°33′22″.9 N, 10°00′28″.1 E    times of contact

From his observatory at the Grauen Kloster in Eldena, just outside Greifswald Lambert Heinrich Röhl observed the transit of Venus, together with Andreas Mayer. By then, the monastery was already a ruin and used as a stone pit to obtain bricks. Learn more...
Location: 54°05′21″.4 N, 13°27′09″.3 E    times of contact

RUSSIA

From the observatory of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, Christian Mayer observed the 1769 transit of Venus with a refracting telescope of 18 feet focal length. Mayer was accompanied by Leonhard Euler, Anders Johan Lexell and Stahl. They had to use the upper floor of the observatory, because from the lower floor the eastern horizon couldn’t be seen (only the last part of the transit was visible just shortly after sunrise). Learn more...
Location: 59°56′29″.4 N, 30°18′16″.1 E    times of contact

SWEDEN

The observatory of the university of Lund, Sweden was located on top of the round tower of the Lundagårdshuset. From this observatory the 1769 transit of Venus was observed by Nils Schenmark, professor of mathematics and astronomical observer. He was accompanied by Olof Nenzelius. Both men timed external and internal contact at ingress, while the sun was low. Learn more...
Location: 55°42′19″.4 N, 13°11′38″.7 E    times of contact

From Uppsala Observatory astronomer Mårten Strömer watched the 1769 transit of Venus with a reflector of 3 feet focal length. Only ingress was visible from Uppsala, and Strömer could time first and second contact. Next to Strömer observations were also made by Torben Bergman, Daniel Melander, Erik Prosperin and Salenius. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 59°51′35″.6 N, 17°38′13″.0 E    times of contact

At the observatory of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Pehr Wilhelm Wargentin used his 21 feet telescope to observe the 1769 transit of Venus. Bengt Ferner and Johan Carl Wilcke were also observing with a 10 feet telescope by Dollond and a 1½ feet telescope respectively. Learn more...
Location: 59°20′29″.4 N, 18°03′16″.6 E    times of contact

AUSTRIA

Upon his arrival in Vardø, Norway in October 1768, Jesuit Father Maximilian Hell started to construct a wooden observatory in the centre of the village, at Valen near the modern Town Hall. The observatory, completed in January, had several hatches in the roof and walls through which Hell and his assistants could observe the sky. For a long time it was thought that Hell falsificated his observations of the 1769 transit of Venus until in 1883 Simon Newcomb proved otherwise. After Hell left Vardø, the observatory fell in decay and in 1876 the building was completely gone. Nowadays, there is a plaque to commemorate Hell’s observation. Learn more...[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Location: 70°22′13″.2 N, 31°06′25″.0 E    times of contact

Observatory of Hell Memorial plaque
Left: The observatory of Maximilian Hell at Vardø. The actual observatory is the building at the left. Right: The plaque commemorating Hell’s observation of the 1769 transit of Venus.

SPAIN

From the roof of the Casas del Cabildo at the central square in Mexico City José Ignacio Bartolache, together with José Antonio Alzate and Antonio de León y Gama, observed the 1769 transit of Venus. They timed first internal contact, but about four hours later the sun disappeared behind dense clouds. During the transit, Alzate also made observations of sun spots. In the early 1900’s the building has been greatly altered and today it houses the Palacio de Gobierno del Distrito Federal.
Location: 19°08′03″.3 N, 99°25′54″.9 W    times of contact

Casas del Cabildo, Mexico City
An eighteenth century drawing of the central square in Mexico City. In de back are the Casas del Cabildo. The observations by Bartolache were made from the tower on the right.

The observatory of Cádiz, founded in 1753, was located on Torre del Homenaje of the Castillo de la Villa. Vincente Tofiño became director of the observatory in 1768, a year before the transit. On the day of the transit, shortly before sunset, he observed both contacts at ingress with a telescope of 7 feet focal length. The Torre del Homenaje stood on the southeast corner of the castle, near the corner of the modern Calle de San Juan de Dios and Calle Campo del Sur. During the nineteenth century, the Castillo de la Villa progessively fell in decay, until in August 1947 the already most scarce traces were destroyed by the explosion of a naval arms store.
Location: 36°31′41″.5 N, 6°17′35″.5 W    times of contact

1874 December 9

NETHERLANDS

In 1874 the Dutch astronomical institutes of Leiden and Utrecht organized a scientific expedition to observe the transit of Venus across the solar disk. Led by Jean Oudemans, the members of the expedition traveled to the Indian Ocean and set up a well-equipped observation camp at Saint Denis on the island of La Réunion. There is a plate commemorating the Dutch expedition. Learn more...
Location: 20°52′20″.7 S, 55°26′52″.4 E    times of contact

Dutch site in Saint Denis, La Reunion
The site of the Dutch expedition at Saint Denis.

In the Dutch East Indies the transit of Venus was observed from fifteen ships of the Royal Netherlands Navy angored at eleven different harbours along the archipelago, as well as by observers on the main land located at Batavia, Buitenzorg and Penoengalan. At Batavia F W Hudig observed the transit from the meteorological station Uitkijk. Today this watch tower is called Menara Syahbandar and can still be visited.
Location: 6°07′38″.4 S, 106°48′32″.0 E    times of contact

Watch tower Uitkijk, Batavia
The meteorological station Uitkijk in Batavia on a pre-1870 picture. (Picture courtesy of the Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde)

GREAT BRITAIN

For the 1874 transit of Venus George Biddell Airy at the Royal Observatory organised and equipped five expeditions to different parts of the world. A British party travelled to the Hawaiian Islands. An auxiliary station was set up in Waimea, on the island of Kuaui, by Richard Johnson. He made use of a 3.5-inch achromatic telescope by Dollond. On the day of the transit, the weather was fine and the ingress could be timed. Just outside the enclosed observatory, the Reverend Robert Dunn observed the transit with a 2.7-inch achromatic telescope by Dollond. The site is marked by a small concrete pier bearing the inscription ‘Transit of Venus’ and dated ‘March 23, [19]32’. Learn more...
Location: 21°57′25″.5 N, 159°40′00″.7 W    times of contact

The main station in Hawaii was set up by George Lyon Tupman at Honolulu on an open piece of grassland in the district called Apua, situated south of Punchbowl Street and west of Queen Street. The site was enclosed with a wooden fence. Learn more...
Location: 21°18′11″.9 N, 157°51′38″.2 W    times of contact

Honolulu site Model of the transit
The Honolulu site. Left: The observatory with the photoheliograph is in the centre. At the left is the house with the transit instrument. Right: Model of the transit of Venus, 800 feet distant from the station. (Pictures courtesy of National Maritime Museum, London)

A member of the Hawaiian expedition, George Forbes, set up an auxiliary station on the Hulihee Palace grounds in Kailua on the Island of Hawaii. Princess Ruth had granted permission to use her residence. The site is marked by a concrete slab built in 1929 by Charles L. Murray of the Hawaii Territory Survey. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 19°38′20″.6 N, 155°59′39″.9 W    times of contact

Georges Forbes observing Commemorative plaque, Kailua
Left: George Forbes at the meridian instrument in Kailua. (Picture courtesy of University of Stathclyde) Right: Memorial plate in the grounds of the Hulihee Palace in Kailua. The bronze button is centered over the pier that supported the transit instrument. (Picture courtesy of David Chapman)

In 1874 the Royal Observatory at Cape Town was under direction of Edward James Stone. He observed the egress of the transit of Venus with the 7-inch Merz refractor at a power of 200 from the 14-feet dome. The weather couldn’t be better: no clouds and no wind. Other observers were William Henry Finlay and George William Hershel Maclear. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 33°56′03″.8 S, 18°28′38″.6 E    times of contact

Another British expedition went to Cairo in Egypt, where a site was selected on the Mokattam Hills, on the western extremity of the ridge known as Jebel Juishi. The team was led by Charles Orde Browne. Unusually for the time, the party included two women. On the day of the transit infantery and police were posted so as to form a cordon round the station to prevent the approach of strangers. Just after the last contact at egress a ring of light appeared round the planet’s edge, which so much perplexed Browne that he lost some good measurements of the cusps. The party erected a memorial stone, but I don’t know if it still there. Learn more...[1] [2] [3] [4]
Location: 30°01′44″.3 N, 31°16′38″.0 E    times of contact

Up the Mokattam heights
Captain Browne superintends the conveyance of his materials up the Mokattam heights. (Engraving from London Illustrated News, December 12, 1874)

At the Royal Alfred Observatory, a meteorological station at Pamplemousses on the island of Mauritius, Charles Meldrum observed the 1874 transit of Venus. He obtained two sets of distance measurements and he saw third contact. In 1961 the observatory was pulled down to make place for the present Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam National Hospital and consequently there are no remains of this site to be seen. Learn more...
Location: 20°05′49″ S, 57°33′33″ E    times of contact

In 1874 James Ludovic Lindsay privately funded an expedition to Mauritius. Together with David Gill, who led the expedition, and Ralph Copeland he set up an observatory at Belmont, the estate of Eduard de Chazal. The day of the transit started cloudy, but soon cleared up to enable observations with the heliometer. The foundations of the observatory were recovered a few years ago and the site is now a historic monument. Learn more...[1] [2] [3] [4]
Location: 20°03′01″.0 S, 57°40′13″.6 E    times of contact

Lord Lindsay′s observatory The remains at Belmont
Left: Lord Lindsay’s observatory at Belmont. The large dome in the centre is the heliometer room. (Picture courtesy of Mauritius Transit of Venus 2004 Committee) Right: The foundations of the observatory.

Not far from Port Mathurin on Rodrigues, on a site where the old Fort Duncan was loacted, Charles B. Neate erected his observatory huts. The transit hut was enclosed by a large stone wall to protect it against hurricanes. On the morning of the transit, the observatory was surrounded by policemen and no one was allowed to approach. Neate observed with the 6-inch equatorial. At both ingress and egress the black drop was very apparent. Today, there is a plaque commemorating the event (with the wrong year 1894), attached to a large concrete block. Learn more...
Location: 19°40′36″.0 S, 63°25′43″.5 E    times of contact

Point Venus at Rodrigues Point Venus at Rodrigues
Left: The transit hut at Point Venus, surrounded by a wall to protect the hut against hurricanes. (Picture courtesy of National Maritime Museum, London) Right: The scene as it is today with the concrete block and plaque commemorating the event. (Picture by Deva Ramasawmy, 2009)

The Reverend Stephen Joseph Perry led his party to Kerguelen Island. He set up a chief station at Observatory Bay and two auxiliary stations. The site was excavated in January 2007. There are two white limestone monoliths for mounting the transit telescope, one standing and one laying down, broken into two parts. The stone standing has been slightly displaced after the British left. In due time, the original stones will be replaced by casts. Learn more...[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Location: 49°25′11″.6 S, 69°53′07″.5 E    times of contact

One of the auxiliary British stations on Kerguelen Island was set up by Cyril Corbet at Supply Bay. Learn more...
Location: 49°30′47″.3 S, 69°46′13″.2 E    times of contact

The other auxiliary British station on Kerguelen Island was set up by Sommerville Goodridge at Thumb Peak, just two days before the transit would take place. Learn more...
Location: 49°31′11″.8 S, 70°10′18″.1 E    times of contact

British station at Obervatory Bay, Kerguelen Monoliths at Obervatory Bay, Kerguelen
Left:The wooden observatory buidlings at Observatory Bay, Kerguelen. (Picture courtesy of National Maritime Museum, London) Right: The two monoliths at Observatory Bay in January 2007. (Picture courtesy of TAAF)

At Roorkee in India, James Francis Tennant had a small observatory building from where he observed the transit of Venus. The observatory consisted of a larger building with an altazimuth and a photoheliograph, and a separate tower with a 6-inch equatorial by Cooke and Sons. Tennant using the equatorial, he didn’t see first external contact owing to the sun’s low altitude, but could secure the other conttacts. At the altazitmuth was Captain Campbell and at the photoheliograph Captain Waterhouse. Learn more...
Location: 29°51′50″.2 N, 77°53′18″.9 E    times of contact

At Madras Observatory in Madras at Nungambakkam, Government Astronomer Norman Robert Pogson made observations of the 1874 transit of Venus. Today all that is left of Madras Observatory are four pillars and a granite slab kept in an enclosure at the Regional Meteorologic Centre.
Location: 13°04′07″.8 N, 80°14′49″.3 E    times of contact

From his extensive private observatory in Daba Gardens at Visakhapatnam in India, astronomer Ankitam Venkata Nursinga Row observed the 1874 transit of Venus. Due to clouds only egress was observed with a 6-inch clock-driven equatorial. The site of Daba Gardens Observatory is now occupied by the Dolphin Hotel. Efforts are being made to install a commemorative monument. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 17°42’46″.3 N, 83°17′51″.4 E    times of contact

Daba Gardens Observatory in Visakhapatnam
Indian and European observers of the transit of Venus at Daba Gardens Observatory in Visakhapatnam, India. (Picture courtesy of Royal Astronomical Society Library)

The British party led by Major Henry Spencer Palmer enclosed a space of about an acre near the Industrial School at Burnham near Christchurch. In this were fixed four observatory huts and four square military tents. One wing of the school was set apart as a residence for the expedition’s members and the chemicals were stored in the outbuildings. During the transit, dense masses of clouds obscured the sun, making it hard to obtain observations of Venus on the face of the sun. Just seconds before internal contact at ingress, the planet was lost from vision. Learn more...
Location: 43°36′40″.7 S, 172°18′09″.3 E    times of contact

GERMANY

A German expedition, led by photographer Gustav Fritsch, went to Isfahan in Persia. The party set up its station in the vicinity of the garden palace Bagh Zereshk. On the day of the transit only a few photographs of the sun could be taken due to clouds. After the transit, the stone plates of the foundation of the heliograph were incised with an inscription. These plates are now at the courtyard of the nearby Vank Cathedral in Julfa.
Location: 32°38′19″.8 N, 51°39′55″.8 E    times of contact

German observers at Isfahan
The German observers at the photoheliograph in Isfahan. From left to right: Franz Stolze, an unknown person, Gustav Fritsch, Hugo Buchwald and Ernst Becker.

German astronomer Karl Nikolai Jensen Börgen arrived at Betsy Cove on Kerguelen Island on board of the Gazelle in November 1874. He set up an astronomical, meteorological and magnetic observatory consisting of several sheds for various instruments. A total of 150 men levelled the terrain and brought the observatories and instruments ashore. Upon their leave in February 1875 the expedition left the brick piers and a couple of thermometers, sunk into the ground. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 49°09′17″.8 S, 70°10′57″.7 E    times of contact

Observatory at Besty Cove
The German station at Betsy Cove on Kerguelen Island. On the left is the iron observatory for the photographic refractor, in the middle is the living house and on the right the astronomical observatory, consisting of two iron domes.

On the beach of Terror Cove, near the settlement of Port Ross on Auckland Island, a German expedition led by astronomer Hugo Seeliger built an observing station. The temporary observatory consisted of a wooden house, constructed during a short stay at Melbourne, and several domes for the astronomical equipment, including a photoheliograph. The day of the transit started with rain, but the transit could be seen until shortly before last contact, when the sun was obscured by clouds again. All that is preserved to the present is the red brick pillar of the passage instrument.
Location: 50°32′10″.4 S, 166°12′45″.5 E    times of contact

German station at Auckland Island
The German station at Terror Cove on Auckland Island.

AUSTRIA

Together with Edmund Weiss, Theodor von Oppolzer travelled to Jassy (Iasi) in modern Romania to observe the transit of Venus. The two astronomers of the Wiener Universitätssternwarte installed their instruments in the southern front garden of the Präfecturgebäude. Between 1906 and 1925 the new neo-Gothic Palatul Culturii was constructed on the old ruins of the Royal Court of Moldavia (which was destroyed by fire in the late 1800's). In the morning of December 9 the two Austrian astronomers could see the egress of Venus. Intertior contact was lost due to fog, but the exterior contact could be timed, although their timings were uncertain because of atmospheric undulations. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 47°09′23″ N, 27°35′13″ E    times of contact

UNITED STATES

Eight well-equiped expeditions were fitted out in 1874, organized by the U.S. Transit of Venus Commission, with Simon Newcomb as Secretary. On Kerguelen Island, George Ryan set up a station at Molloy Point. Today, the two iron piers for the heliostat and the photographic plate holder, as well as the brick pier for the transit instrument are still present. Learn more...
Location: 49°21′22″.1 S, 70°04′52″.7 E    times of contact

American station at Point Molloy, Kerguelen Remains of American station at Point Molloy
Left: The transit house and the photoheliograph of the American station on Kerguelen Island. (Picture courtesy of the U.S. Naval Observatory Library) Right: Robert Headland of the Scott Polar Research lnstitute next to the remains of the pier for the heliostat.

An American expedition under direction of James Craig Watson chose a vacant space on the premises occupied by the English Church Mission in Peking to erect the observatory buildings. During his stay at Peking, Watson also discovered an astroid, 139 Juewa, which was named by the Chinese prince Kung. A week before the transit a busy street near the station was closed, because the traffic produced anoying vibations. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 39°54′13″.2 N, 116°22′23″.5 E    times of contact

A party led by George Davidson went to Nagasaki in Japan. Davidson choose the steep, bare hill Ohira Yama (modern Hositori Yama) south of the city to set up his observatory. They missed first contact because of clouds, but second contact could be timed. At egress, a dense cloud drifted over the sun just at the moment of third contact. Then, the sky became overcast and it started to rain. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 32°43′17″.5 N, 129°52′37″.5 E    times of contact

American station at Nagasaki
The American station at Nagasaki. From left to right: the transit house, the heliostat with clockdrive, the equatorial house and the photographic house. North is to the left.

Emiritus professor of mathematics and astronomy at Columbia College, New York, Henry J. Anderson travelled to Australia on his own expense to observe the transit of Venus. He observed from the fenced and cultivated land of William Jameson Turner, a local watchmaker, at 38 Loch Street in Beechworth, Victoria. He used a telescope by Secretan of Paris with an aperture of 77 cm and a focal length of 1.125 m. Initially, observing conditions were ideal and the internal contact at ingress didn’t show anything resembling a black drop. After this contact the weather suddenly changed and clouds obscured the sun. On his homeward journey Anderson died in India from a malignant disease. Learn more...
Location: 36°21′21″.9 S, 146°41′21″.9 E    times of contact

In Hobart, Tasmania, William Harkness set up an observation station in the grounds of the military barracks at Davey Street, next to a war memorial. The Tasmanian government inclosed so much of the ground as was needed and furnished a policeman to protect it. Learn more...
Location: 42°53’19″.2 S, 147°19′38″.2 E    times of contact

American station at Hobart
The station at Hobart with the hut for the transit instrument, the clock drive and the pier with the heliostat. The war memorial is in the back. (Picture courtesy of George Eastman House)

Another American expedition set up its instruments in Tasmania as well. The party led by Charles Raymond was originally designed to occupy a station at the Crozet Islands, but owing to heavy storms a landing could not be effected. Finally a station was selected and occupied in the grounds of The Grange, the house of William Valentine in Campbelltown. Today the brick pier for the transit instrument and the wooden hut for the equatorial are still present. Also, the two iron piers have survived to this day, but they are not in their orignal positions. A sundial commemorates the momentous observation. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 41°55′42″.4 S, 147°29′44″.1 E    times of contact    streetview

Equatorial house at Campbelltown Transit pier at Campbelltown Iron pier at Campbelltown
Left: The wooden hut for the equatorial in the grounds of The Grange at Campbelltown. Middle: The brick pier for the transit instrument. Right: The remains of one of the iron piers. (Pictures courtesy of Martin George)

Under the direction of Christian Peters an American station was set up in Queenstown, situated on Melbourne Street on a terrace northeast of the city. At the time, there were only a few scattered houses and inhabitants, but streets and sections were laid out for the future growth of the city. Melbourne Street passed right through the northeast section of the station, with the photographic house standing entirely on the street. There is a memorial plate in the grounds of the Millennium Hotel. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 45°01′59″.9 S, 168°40′02″.5 E    times of contact

American station at Queenstown Commemorative plaque at Queenstown
Left: The transit house and the observatory with the equatorial at Queenstown. (Picture courtesy of Hocken Library, University of Otago) Right: The memorial plate.

At Whangaroa Harbor on Chatham Island, a party under direction of Edwin Smith set up its instruments to observe the 1874 transit of Venus. This expedition was ill-fated. On its way to Chatham island, the chief photographer died of yellow fever. When it arrived, the members had much trouble erecting the pier for the photographic plate holder. On the day of the transit, just one hour before first contact, the spring driver of the equatorial’s driving clock was found broken. During the larger part of the transit, the sun was obscured by thin clouds and just before third contact it started to rain. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 43°48′56″.4 S, 176°42′41″.6 W    times of contact

American station at Chatham Island American station at Chatham Island
Left: Members of the American expedition at Chatham Island are testing the heliostat. Right: From left to right the transit house, the heliostat and the photographic house with a barrel rack for water supply. (Pictures courtesy of U.S. Naval Observatory Library)

FRANCE

In 1874 the Académie des Sciences organized a couple of expeditions to observe and photograph the transit of Venus. A party under direction of Ernest Mouchez set up its instruments on Ile Saint-Paul in the Indian Ocean. This expedition was very lucky, because Ile Saint-Paul was in the middle of a heavy storm, except for the six hours of Venus’ transit. The team managed to secure several pictures of the transit. Upon his departure, Mouchez left a large pyramid with an engraved stone at the flagstaff to commemorate the observation. When the stone nearly survived a cyclone in February 1998, it was decided that it was to be replaced by a mold before the 2004 transit of Venus. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 33°42′54″.5 S, 77°31′55″.6 E    times of contact

Observatory of Ernest Mouchez, Ile Saint-Paul Plaque on Saint-Paul
Left: The observatory of Ernest Mouchez on Ile Saint-Paul. The two domes contain 8-feet equatorials, the cabin on the left is the photographic house and the building in the back holds the alt-azimuth. (Picture courtesy of the Institut de mécanique céleste et de calcul des éphémérides) Right: The stone plaque on Saint-Paul.

French astronomer Georges-Ernest Fleuriais was in charge of an expedition to Pekin in China. He was offered to use a part of the garden of the French Legation and a pavillion next to it, all close to the Forbidden City. Four huts were erected for the two equatorials, the transit instrument and the photographic equatorial. On the day of the transit the sky was clear and all four contacts were timed. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 39°54′08″.1 N, 116°24′17″.0 E    times of contact

When the two French astronomers Pierre-César Jules Janssen and Félix Tisserand had just installed their instruments on Mount Kompira near Nagasaki in Japan, Tisserand’s telescope and micrometer were broken in a storm. Fortunately, the other instruments survived. One of these was a photographic revolver invented by Janssen. After the succesfull observation of the transit, a commemorative monument was erected on the site by Janssen. In 1993 the original foundations of the observatory were discovered. Learn more...
Location: 32°45′51″.0 N, 129°52′59″.0 E    times of contact

Janssen′s photographic revolver Janssen′s photographic revolver
Left: The photographic revolver of Janssen in Nagasaki, operated by Brazilian astronomer Francisco Antônio de Almeida. Right: Daguerreotype from Janssen′s revolver.

Janssen also set up an auxiliary station at Suwayama in Kobe, Japan. The observations were performed by Delacroix and Chimizou using a 6-inch telescope by Bardou and a photographic telescope by Steinheil. They observed all four contatcs. A commemorative monument was later erected, and the site came to be referred to as Kinsei-dai (Venus Hill). Learn more...
Location: 34°41’44″.3 N, 135°10′48″.7 E    times of contact

Observatory at Kobe Monuments in Kobe
Left: The French observatory at Kobe. Right: Commemorative monuments at Suwayama Public Garden in Kobe. The pillar to the right commemorates the observation of the transit of Venus.

Another French expedition went to Nouméa in New Caledonia to observe the 1874 transit of Venus. Charles André, astronomer at the Paris Observatory, set up his instruments just outside Nouméa at Anse Vata Bay. The photographic house demanded special care beacuse of the sensibilty of the photographic plates to cold. Ingress couldn’t be observed due to clouds, but fortunately the sky cleared during the transit and egress could be timed perfectly. The location was roughly determined by means of the drawing by Albert Tissandier. Learn more...
Location: 22°18′12″.3 S, 166°26′46″.6 E    times of contact

Observatory of Charles Andre, Noumea
Site of the French expedition at Nouméa. (Drawing by Albert Tissandier)

On the remote and inhabitated Campbell Island the French astronomer Jean Jacques Anatole Bouquet de la Grye installed several observatory huts to observe the 1874 transit of Venus. On the day of the transit it was cloudy and only five minutes before first contact the sun began to show. Venus was seen against the sun’s corona. De la Grye also had a very short glimpse of Venus half onto the solar disc – and nothing more. The bay where the French station stood, was aptly called Venus Bay. Learn more...
Location: 52°33′39″.0 S, 169°08′29″.6 E    times of contact

Observatories at Campbell Island
Observatory huts at Campbell Island. Left the transit house, in the middle the dome with the parallactic telescope and to the right the magnetic house.

EGYPT

Near Abbasiya, east of Cairo and not far from the British station, stood the Khedivial Observatory. It was an astronomical and meteorological observatory with a characteristic drum shaped dome, directed by royal astronomer Mahmud Ahmad Hamdi al Falaki. Before the transit, Al Falaki practised on the model at the British station. On the day of the transit, Al Falaki used the observatory’s 6-inch equatorial to observe the transit and timed the contacts at egress. The observatory moved to Helwan in 1903, but the building remained until at least 1936. Today the site is occupied by the building of the Faculty of Arts of the Ain Shams University. Learn more...
Location: 30°04′35″.8 N, 31°17′14″.9 E    times of contact

Observatory at Cairo
The former observatory at Abbasiya on a 1906 postcard.

AUSTRALIA

At Adelaide Observatory its director Charles Todd used the newly purchased 8-inch Cooke refractor to observe the 1874 transit of Venus. For the transit, the instrument was stopped down to 4 inches. Due to clouded weather Todd missed ingress, but favourable weather conditions allowed him to time egress. An independent observer, F.G. Singleton, who had set up his 3-inch refractor in the observatory’s grounds, also saw egress. Adelaide Observatory, located at the corner of Glover Avenue and West Terrace, was demolished in 1940.
Location: 34°55′31″.7 S, 138°35′13″.3 E    times of contact

At Melbourne Observatory Robert Lewis John Ellery supervised the operations. Ellery and John White made visual observations with the Troughton and Simms 8-inch refractor. William Kernot used the new Dallmeyer photoheliograph, which was purchased by the Colony of Victoria and was installed at the observatory just in time to photograph the transit. A Janssen’s device could be attached to the photoheliograph and 180 frames of the transit were taken on at least nine circular plates. The instrument was restored and reinstalled in the dome in time for the 2004 transit of Venus. Joseph Turner planned to take photographs with the Great Melbourne Telescope and succeeded in producing excellent results. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 37°49′45″.9 S, 144°58′31″.2 E    times of contact    streetview

William Kernot operating the photoheliograph
William Kernot operating the Dallmeyer photoheliograph at Melbourne Observatory, assisted by his students. (Wood engraving by Samuel Calvert)

An expedition of Sydney Observatory set up its instruments in the middle of the Market Square (modern Belmore Park) of the city of Goulburn. This expedition was led by Archibald Liversidge. The day of the transit was very hot and all coloured glasses of the telescope became fractured. All contacts at ingress and egress could be timed and photographs were taken during the time in between. In 1910 a plaque was placed on a concrete block in Belmore Park, indicating the co-ordinates of Goulburn en commemorating the observation of the transit of Venus. In 1997 this plaque was moved a short distance and placed on a new pier to allow the construction of a playground. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 34°45′19″.1 S, 149°43′13″.1 E    times of contact    streetview

Commemorative plaque in Belmore Park, Goulburn
The pier with two plaques in Belmore Park, Goulburn. On top of the pier is the original 1910 plaque, on one side is a plaque with further information. (Picture by Gordon Thompson, 2007)

In Eden, William Scott erected an observatory on an open space known as Market Square, on a hill overlooking both bays. Scott was using a 7.25-inch equatorial, stopped down to 2 inches. On the morning of the transit clouds came up, but didn’t yet interfere with the observation of the ingress. After ingress, about fifty photographs were taken, but clouds were continually driving over the face of the sun. Learn more...
Location: 37°04′04″.9 S, 149°54′27″.2 E    times of contact

Waiting for the transit at Eden
Waiting for the transit at Eden.

In addition to Sydney Observatory three other stations in New South Wales were selected by Henry Russell to observe the 1874 transit of Venus. One of these stations was set up in the grounds of Woodford, the residence of Alfred Fairfax, a wealthy amateur astronomer. Philip Francis Adams, who was in charge of the observations, observed all four contacts. Moreover, a total of 63 whole pictures and 16 Janssen plates were taken. The presumed location of the station is at 11 Arthur Street. There is a dedicated plaque to commemorate the observation. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 33°43′55″.0 S, 150°28′20″.7 E    times of contact    streetview

The station in the grounds of Woodford
The station in the grounds of Woodford.

In Windsor, New South Wales, amateur astronomer John Tebbutt had built a small wooden observatory with pine walls and a slate roof and a separate circular building to house his equatorial instrument. Under very favourable weather, he observed all four contacts of the 1874 transit of Venus. In 1879 and 1894 Tebbutt replaced the wooden structures by brick buildings, which still stand today.
Location: 33°36′24″.2 S, 150°49′50″.2 E    times of contact    streetview

John Tebbutt and his observatory
John Tebbutt in front of his wooden observatory.

In 1874 the transit of Venus was observed from Sydney Observatory by the government astronomer Henry Chamberlain Russell. For this event, a new telescope was bought, which is still in use today. On the day of the transit the weather was fine and all four contacts could be observed. A beautiful halo was visible around Venus before the planet was wholly on the sun. With the photoheliograph a total of 180 pictures were taken. Learn more...
Location: 33°51′34″.0 S, 151°12′16″.3 E    times of contact

From the backyard of his house at 25 Hunter Street in Sydney, not far from the observatory, Frederick Allerding observed the 1874 transit of Venus. His observations were interrupted many times, by allowing a great many friends to have a peep at the transit through a telescope of 3½-inch aperture. Learn more...
Location: 33°51′56″.6 S, 151°12′30″.2 E    times of contact

NEW ZEALAND

In the Botanical Garden in Wellington, New Zealand, stood the Colonial Time Service Observatory. Here, James Hector supervised the observations of the 1874 transit of Venus. Hector used the 4-inch equatorial belonging to the observatory, which was fixed in a tent at one corner of the enclosure. In another tent in the opposite corner William Frederick Parsons observed with a 6-inch reflector constructed by himself. Two assistants, Gore and Bothamley, took the time and recorded each incident. Archdeacon Arthur Stock observed the event with his own telescope from the adjoining cemetery, assisted by John William Allman Marchant, Surveyor for Wellington Province. However, due to clouds, the internal contact at ingress couldn’t be seen. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 41°16′46″.3 S, 174°46′18″.4 E    times of contact

MEXICO

A Mexican expedition, originally heading for China, eventually installed at Yokohama in Japan. They set up two separate observing stations. Francisco Díaz Covarrubias was chief of a station at Nogeyama. The observatory hut was constructed by a Chinese worker and was ready by the end of November 1874. On the day of the transit, all four contacts could be timed. Today, a stone base of the observatory can still be seen. Near the site of the Nogeyama observatory is a centenary monument erected in 1974 to commemorate the Mexican expedition. Learn more...
Location: 35°26′57″.1 N, 139°37′36″.6 E    times of contact

The other Mexican station in Yokohama was located at The Bluff (modern Yamate) in the foreign quarter of Yokohama. Here, a wooden observatory house was erected by Francisco Jiménez. Although the two Mexican observatories differed only 5 seconds of time in longitude, the observed times of contact differed more than 20 seconds. Learn more...
Location: 35°26′19″.9 N, 139°38′50″.7 E    times of contact

The stations in Yokohama
Left: The observatory at Nogeyama. Right: The observatory at The Bluff.

1882 December 6

NETHERLANDS

In 1882 there was only one Dutch expedition to observe the transit of Venus. Paulus Hendricus Brocx went by his own to Willemstad on the island of Curaçao and set up his instruments on Fort Nassau in a wooden hut wich was erected especially for the occasion. During the event, the sky was clear and all four contacts could be timed. Brocx was assisted by two men from the ship. Learn more...
Location: 12°06′54″.2 N, 68°55′35″.8 W    times of contact

From the Netherlands only few observations of the 1882 transit of Venus were attempted because of an overcast sky. At Utrecht Observatory the sky started to clear at the time of ingress and Jean Oudemans saw Venus for a couple of minutes between first and second contact. Even during this short period Oudemans was unlucky, as the sun was shortly obscured by the wind direction indicator of the neighbouring meteorological institute. Learn more...
Location: 52°05′07″.8 N, 5°07′45″.5 E    times of contact

GREAT BRITAIN

The observer of Orwell Park Observatory in Ipswich, John Isaac Plummer, was allowed to participate in an expedition of the Royal Observatory of Greenwich to Bermuda in order to observe the transit of Venus. Plummer observed the transit from Gibbs Hill in the immediate vicinity of the lighthouse, together with Charles Burnaby Neate, but the weather was unfavourable.
Location: 32°15′09″.9 N, 64°50′03″.8 W    times of contact

At Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, its director Johan Ludwig Emil Dreyer observed the 1882 transit of Venus with the 15-inch Grubb reflector, stopped down to eleven inches and later to seven inches during ingress. His assistant Charles Faris used the 3.8-inch achromatic finder, attached to the tube of the refractor. Although snow fell in considerable quantities on the morning of December 6, only a few clouds passed now and then during the transit and not at any of the critical moments. Learn more...
Location: 54°21′07″.1 N, 6°38′53″.4 W    times of contact

One of the few observers in the United Kingdom who was able to time both contacts at ingress, Sir John Burns observed the transit from his large mansion Castle Wemyss. Castle Wemyss was demolished in 1984. Learn more...
Location: 55°53′27″.5 N, 4°53′49″.0 W    times of contact

The ingress of Venus upon the sun’s disk was well seen by Robert Grant at Glasgow Observatory on Horselethill in Downhill. At internal contact, the dark ligament was distinctly seen, becoming more and more elongated until finally the rupture of the ligament occured. The observatory was demolished in 1936 and the Notre Dame High School was built on the site. Learn more...
Location: 55°52′42″.1 N, 4°17′57″.0 W    times of contact

Glasgow Observatory
Glasgow Observatory. (Image courtesy of Glasgow University Library, Special Collections)

At Dunecht Observatory near Aberdeenshire in Scotland, J. Gerhard Lohse had best viewing conditions during the time of ingress and shortly after, except for a small snow cloud, which obscured the sun completely for about two minutes at the time of internal contact. An hour after ingress a heavy snow shower came on the the sun remained invisible for the rest of the day. Lohse observed with the 15-inch refractor with a power of about 190.
Location: 57°09′38″.5 N, 2°24′48″.2 W    times of contact

Probably at the rectory of Mells Maures Horner observed the transit of Venus together with his father reverend George Horner. A 5-inch equatorially mounted, clock driven refractor by Cooke and a spectroscope of two prisms provided a good view of the ingress of Venus. Although the exact moment of internal contact was missed because of a cloud floating by, the aureole could be seen beautifully. Learn more...
Location: 51°14′26″.7 N, 2°23′34″.5 W    times of contact

From his observatory at the rectory of Hatherop, reverend Robert P. Davies could see the ingress of the planet with nothing to mar the view. He observed with a 4-inch telescope which was equatorially mounted and clock driven. It was difficult to judge the time of internal contact, because the light of the aureole could easily be mistaken for the strip of sunlight after the junction of the cusps. Learn more...
Location: 51°44′43″.2 N, 1°46′36″.3 W    times of contact

From his residence Fernhill House in Wootton Bridge on the Isle of Wight Frederick Brodie observed the 1882 transit of Venus with an 8½-inch equatorial by Cooke. His son used a 3-inch Merz telescope. Because of the clouds, they had only a few glimpses of the sun. Fernhill House stood at the head of Wootton Creek commanding a fine view of the Solent and was adorned with a lofty prospect tower. The house was destroyed by fire in 1938. Learn more...
Location: 50°43′13″.5 N, 1°14′02″.4 W    times of contact

Fernhill House, Wootton Bridge
Wootton Bridge in 1848. In the background is Fernhill House, with a prospect tower.

From the rectory at East Tisted, reverend Frederick Howlett, a well-known solar observer, observed the transit of Venus by projecting the sun’s image onto a screen in a darkened chamber using a 3-inch telescope. Applying a power of 80, an image of 32 inches in diameter was produced. He only obtained a few brief glimpses of Venus. At the moment of first internal contact, the sun was completely clouded. Shortly after, the black drop effect was very apparent. Learn more...
Location: 51°05′08″.9 N, 1°00′00″.9 W    times of contact

At Crowborough in Sussex Charles Leeson Prince, a local surgeon with a passion for astronomy and meteorology, set up an observatory in the 1870’s, called The Grange. From this observatory he observed the 1882 transit of Venus. Throughout the morning slight showers of hail and snow were falling, until in the afternoon the heavier clouds passed away. Prince observed second contact and was much perplexed by the black drop effect. The Grange was demolished in 1964 to may way for new houses. Learn more...
Location: 51°03′10″.8 N, 0°09′16″.7 E    times of contact

The Grange at Crowborough Black drop observed at Crowborough
Left: The Grange in 1910. At the left is a round tower that housed the Tulley Equatorial. From the upper observatory on the roof Prince observed the last part of the transit until sunset. (Picture courtesy of The Weald) Right: The black drop observed by Prince.

In Cape Town, at the Royal Observatory, David Gill observed the 1882 transit of Venus. He used the 6-inch Grubb refractor, then at the Wind Tower, which is demolished today. There were six observers in total, scattered all around the grounds of the observatory. Gill coordinated the observations of the transit of Venus in South Africa: he assisted the American and British parties, set up an observatory at Durban and communicated with the expeditions making a stop at Cape Town. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 33°56′03″.8 S, 18°28′38″.6 E    times of contact

At Montagu Road (modern Touwsrivier) a British party led by German born astronomer Albert Marth set up an observing station. They erected two telescopes, a 6-inch Grubb equatorial and a 4.5-inch Dallmeyer equatorial. The first was used by Marth and the latter by C.A. Stevens. The sky being clear, Both observers managed to make successful observations of ingress and egress. Two concrete piers survived and can still be seen today at the courtyard of the former Douglas Hotel. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 33°20′21″.6 S, 20°02′07″.5 E    times of contact

Piers at Touwsrivier
The two piers left by the British expedition in Touwsrivier. The block on the south pier with the National Monument plaque was later added. (Picture by George Tucker)

David Gill of the Cape Town Observatory sent out a party to Aberdeen Road, manned by William Henry Finlay and R.T. Pett. They set up two 6-inch Grubb refractors to observe the transit. On the day of the transit, the weather was so hot that the image of the Sun was excessively boiling and the definition was very bad. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 32°45′56″.5 S, 24°18′54″.3 E    times of contact

Natal Observatory in Durban was founded in 1882, just in time to observe the transit of Venus. Edmund Neison was appointed astronomer and arrived just six days before the transit. He stopped down the 8-inch Grubb refrator to 6-inch, using a power of 160. Mr. P. Sandford, from the Durban High School, read out and recorded the chronometer times. The observatory, demolished in 1957, was located on the south-west corner of the botanical gardens, on the corner of St. Thomas’ and Currie Roads. Learn more...
Location: 29°50′47″.1 S, 31°00′12″.7 E    times of contact

Stephen Perry chose the south point of the island Nosy Ve, a sandbank off the coast of Madagascar surrounded by a coral reef, to erect his instruments. On the day of the transit a high wind caused showers of fine sand to fall over the instruments, but satisfactory observations of the internal contact at ingress could be secured. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 29°50′47″.1 S, 31°00′12″.7 E    times of contact

For the 1882 transit of Venus the Royal Society of London origanized and equipped a number of expeditions. A party under direction of William Morris set up its portable observatories in the grounds of Jimbour House at Jimbour, Queensland. Cuthbert Peek, together with his assistant Charles Grover, had managed to get himself attached, at his own expense, to the Society’s expedition. Next to a Queensland Bottle Tree which has been planted at the transit of Venus site, the observation is also commemorated by three informative signs. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 26°57′41″.3 S, 151°14′05″.6 E    times of contact

Observatories at Jimbour House
The British observatories hosted by Jimbour House in 1882. In the far left and the far right (with the telescope sticking out) are the huts for Peek’s and Morris’ equatorials. In the middle is the transit house.

At Burnham, near Christchurch in New Zealand, George Lyon Tupman occupied the buildings erected for the accomadation of Major Palmer, who took observations at the previous transit. Tupman succuessfuly observed the 1882 transit of Venus. Today, there are three Lands and Survey Department reference points engraved in bronze and set on three crumbling brick pillars arranged in a triangle some 20 metres apart. Each pillar is approximately one metre tall. They are set in an open area fifty metres from the military hospital, on flat, grassed land, about 0.6 km south along Burdons Road from Aylesbury Road intersection. The principal pillar is known as the Burnham Fundamental. Learn more...
Location: 43°36′40″.7 S, 172°18′09″.3 E    times of contact

Pillars at Burnham
The three brick pillars at Burnham. The principal pillar is on the right. (Picture by Bratt Manning, 2008)

GERMANY

The German expedition led by Julius Franz set up its temporary observatory buildings at 223 Edgefield Avenue NW in Aiken, South Carolina. Unfortunately, on the day of the transit fog prevented the astronomers to time first contact. However, when the sky cleared they managed to do a couple of measurements with their heliometer. Today, the site is marked by a brass plaque. Adjacent to the Aiken County Historical Museum there is an iron frame of one of the German observatories as well as a stone plaque left by the German astronomers. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 33°33′53″.6 N, 81°43′10″.6 W    times of contact

German observatory at Aiken Frame of German observatory at Aiken
Left: The German astronomers and their observatory at Aiken. (Picture courtesy of University of South Carolina) Right: The iron frame of the largest observatory in the grounds of the Aiken County Historical Museum. (Picture by Roger Manley)

Another German expedition went to Hartford, Connecticut. Led by Gustav Müller, the German team set up its observatory on the hilltop campus of Trinity College. There used to be an inscribed stone marker on the heliometer pier, but in 1959 this marker was relocated to make way for the construction of Mather Hall. Learn more...
Location: 41°44′48″.0 N, 72°41′32″.6 W    times of contact

German heliometer at Hartford
The heliometer of the German expedition at Hartford, operated by Gustav Müller.

The German expedition to Punta Arenas, Chile, was first headed by Friedrich Küstner, but later also Arthur Auwers joined the party. The station was located a couple of yards southwest from the wooden lighthouse on the corner of Calle Magallanes and Avenida Colón. Though December 5 was dominated by showers and the night was overcast, skies turned out to be clear on the day of the transit. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 53°09′39″.3 S, 70°54′20″.5 W    times of contact

German station at Punta Arenas
The German station near the lighthouse of Punta Arenas.

After its troubled landing at Moltke Harbour, South Georgia, on August 20, the German party led by Carl Schrader cleared the snow and put up the wooden huts, the revolving iron dome for the transit observations, and shelters for the instruments. Due to dominating clouds during the days prior to December 6, hopes for seeing the transit weren’t high. Fortunately, a storm cleared the sky and the transit was observed from start to end. Today, there are still some remains of the old German station to be seen. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 54°31′05″.6 S, 36°02′50″.0 W    times of contact

German station at South Georgia Remains of the dome on South Georgia
Left: The German station at Moltke Harbour, South Georgia. Right: Remains of the iron frame of the dome. (Picture by David Nicholls)

At Munich Observatory in Bogenhausen, the sky was overcast until the time of ingress. Astronomer Hugo Seeliger and his assistant List observed with telescopes by Fraunhofer. Their timings of interior contact were much hampered by the black drop effect and the aureole. The original observatory in Bogenhausen was demolished in May 1964 to make way for a modern building. Learn more...
Location: 48°08′45″.0 N, 11°36′25″.2 E    times of contact

In Germany the weather was hopeless on December 6. Nevertheless, at the Astrophysical Observatory in Potsdam Hermann Carl Vogel prepared to observe Venus’ ingress with the large refractor. Fortunately the sky cleared in the afternoon. Although Vogel had practised a lot with an artificial model of the transit and had read many reports of the foregoing transits, he was surprised by the appearance and brightness of the aureole. Learn more...
Location: 52°22′50″.0 N, 13°03′51″.4 E    times of contact

BELGIUM

In 1882 a Belgian expedition, led by Jean Charles Houzeau of the Brussels Royal Observatory, went to San Antonio, Texas to observe the transit of Venus with a heliometer with objectives of unequal focal lengths. This special heliometer was invented by Houzeau. The Belgian astronomers also set up an auxiliary station. Today, the site in the grounds of the Bullis House Inn at Pierce Avenue is marked. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 29°26′34″.5 N, 98°27′54″.2 W    times of contact    streetview

Egress observed by E. Stuyvaert
The black drop effect during egress, observed by E. Stuyvaert at San Antonio. (Picture courtesy of John G. Wolbach Library, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

In the garden south of the observatory in Quinta Normal Park Belgian astronomer Louis Niesten observed the 1882 transit of Venus, together with astronomer Charles Lagrange and his brother Joseph Niesten, an artillery captain. The day of the transit was perfectly clear and 606 measurements of the position of Venus were taken with Houzeau's heliometer. Today, the observatory houses the Esquela Tecnica Aeronautica. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 33°26′41″.6 S, 70°40′57″.7 W    times of contact

UNITED STATES

George Davidson had a private observatory at Lafayette Square in San Francisco, built in 1879 on a high knoll. It was a 15 by 15 foot octagonal wooden structure, topped with a 10 foot rounded canvas dome. It contained a 6.4-inch Clark refracting telescope. Assigned to charge the observations was John J. Gilbert of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, aided by Ferdinand Westdahl. Other observers at Davidson’s Observatory were Edmund F. Dickins, C.B. Hill and Mrs. Davidson. An unusually steady atmosphere prevailed on the day of the transit and successful observations were made of the last two contacts. The observatory was closed in 1907. Learn more...
Location: 37°47′29″.2 N, 122°25′38″.3 W    times of contact

Observatory of George Davidson
George Davidson’s observatory on Lafayette Square in San Francisco. In the back is the old home of Samuel Holladay.

From the Coast and Geodetic Survey station on the summit of Mount Diabolo in California, Justin P. Moore observed the 1882 transit of Venus. Six years earlier, the Coast and Geodetic Survey had erected here a three-story signal station. Moore was vice president of the California Academy of Sciences. Learn more...
Location: 37°52′54″.2 N, 121°54′51″.9 W    times of contact    streetview

In late 1882 Amherst College astronomer David Peck Todd travelled to California to photograph the transit of Venus from the summit of Mount Hamilton where Lick Observatory was being constructed. A total of 147 glass negatives survived and these images were recently turned into a movie by William Sheehan and Anthony Misch. Learn more...[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
Location: 37°20′30″.9 N, 121°38′31″.0 W    times of contact

At Tepusquet Station of the Coast and Geodetic Survey in California Philip Albert Welker observed third and fourth contact of the 1882 transit of Venus. Under a cloudless sky he watched with a 2½-inch telescope, assisted by H. Stoddard, who recorded the observations. To reduce the amount of light, he fastened two colored glasses, taken from a sextant, to the eye end of the telescope. Just before third contact Welker saw a bright ring of light between the limbs of the sun. Learn more...
Location: 34°54′36″.9 N, 120°11′10″.8 W    times of contact

On the ranch of Absolom S. Lehman, Nevada, a party of the US Coast and Geodetic Survey, lead by William Eimbeck and assisted by R.A. Marr, observed the 1882 Transit of Venus. The morning of December 6 started with clouds on the horizon, preventing observing the first part of the transit, but in de course of the day the weather improved and third and fourth contacts were observed under calm circumstances. No trace of a black drop was seen during third contact. Learn more...
Location: 39°00′32″.9 N, 114°11′07″.7 W    times of contact

On the summit of Cerro Roblero in New Mexico, close to Fort Selden, a party led by George Davidson established an astronomical station to observe the 1882 transit of Venus. The day of the transit was pleasant, with only slight patches of cirrus clouds. A total number of 216 good photographs were produced, and all four contacts could be timed.
Location: 32°26′07″.1 N, 106°55′00″.2 W    times of contact

In 1882 the U.S. Naval Observatory equipped a total of eight expeditions. A team led by Asaph Hall observed the transit of Venus from San Antonio, Texas, close to Fort Sam Houston and about 500 yards east from the site of the Belgian expedition. There is a commemorative base marker in the grounds of the Infantery Post Housing Area (which is visible in the streetview). Learn more...
Location: 29°26′32″.7 N, 98°27′36″.9 W    times of contact

The director of Carleton College Observatory in Northfiled, Minnesota, William Wallace Payne, observed third contact and made micrometer measures of Venus’ diameter. The observatory was constructed in 1878, but razed in 1905 to make way for Laird Hall. A new observatory was built about 100 yards to the east.
Location: 44°27′43″.7 N, 93°09′13″.7 W    times of contact

In 1882 the Washburn Observatory in Madison, Wisconsin was completed as an Italianate style building. Its director, Edward Singleton Holden, observed the transit of Venus from this observatory.
Location: 43°04′34″.4 N, 89°24′33″.6 W    times of contact    streetview

Between 1863 and 1887 the Dearborn Observatory was located in an observatory tower on South Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago on the west side of Douglas Hall. The observatory possessed a large 18.5-inch refractor by Alvan Clark and Sons. Here, director George Washington Hough and Sherburne Wesley Burnham timed the first two contacts. In 1887 the Dearborn Observatory was removed to Evanston.
Location: 41°49′58″.1 N, 87°36′45″.1 W    times of contact

Dearborn Observatory
Douglas Hall in Chicago seen from the southeast. The drum shaped dome of Dearborn Observatory can be seen rising behind the roof.

At the Vanderbilt Observatory in Nashville, Tennessee two independent observations of the 1882 transit of Venus were made. From the dome of the observatory engineer Olin Henry Landreth observed the transit with the 6-inch equatorial. In de grounds of the observatory, about 200 feet due west from the building, Edward Emerson Barnard set up a 5-inch Byrne refractor, mounted as a simple equatorial. Observations of ingress were prevented by clouds, whereas at egress the definition was very poor from heated air. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 36°03′08″.6 N, 86°48′19″.2 W    times of contact

At the time of the 1882 transit of Venus, the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, had its old observatory already removed, a new observatory wasn’t built yet and the Napoleon III telescope was still in store. The actual observation of the transit was left in the hands of students and a campus astronomy club which utilized various small telescopes on campus. The day began cloudy, but by 10 in the morning the sky cleared. Learn more...
Location: 41°42′08″ N, 86°14′19″ W    times of contact

The 1882 transit of Venus was observed from Cincinnati Observatory, Ohio. After Ormond Stone left the institute in the autumn of 1882, Herbert Wilson served as astronomer pro tempore in charge of the observatory. According to the New York Times of December 7, 1882, the observations were very unsatisfactory on account of dense clouds.
Location: 39°08′20″.9 N, 84°25′21″.1 W    times of contact

From the Detroit Observatory in Ann Arbor, Michigan, John Martin Schaeberle observed the 1882 transit of Venus with a 6-inch telescope. Only the lens from this telescope is extant today. At first and second contact the sun was wholly obscured by clouds. Later on the sun could be observed through the clouds and Schaeberle determined the apparent diameter of Venus with a micrometer. Third contact was also lost due to clouds. Only fourth contact could be timed. The observations were made from the Student’s Observatory, which was a separate, small building located south of the meridian room of the main observatory and torn down in 1923. Learn more...
Location: 42°16′55″.2 N, 83°43′53″.9 W    times of contact    streetview

In early November 1882 John Robie Eastman arrived at Cedar Key, Florida to observe the transit of Venus. The observatory buildings were set up in a small park, which was recently planted with young orange trees. The park was located between the Suwannee Hotel and the Atlantic, Gulf and West Indies Transit Company passenger depot. A total of 176 photographic plates were processed and the last three contacts could be timed. Unfortunately, the precise position of the observatories in the park is unknown. Learn more...
Location: 29°08′16″.6 N, 83°01′47″.9 W    times of contact

Cedar Key in 1884
A bird’s eye view of 1884 Cedar Key. The site selected by Eastman was located in the small park to the right, planted with small orange trees. (Lithograph by Beck & Pauli, 1884. Image courtesy of University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.)

In 1882 Charles Hasselbrink was Signal Service observer at Havanna and observed the transit from the terrace of the U.S. Hydrographic Office at 55 Habana Street in Havanna. He observed with a 2.5-inch telescope by Negretti and Zambra, which was shaken by wind in the afternoon. Hasselbrink timed all four contacts, though he considered the exterior contacts doubtful. During the transit he observed the aureole around the planet as well as gray patches on the black disk.
Location: 23°08′25″.3 N, 82°21′15″.3 W    times of contact

From Allegheny Observatory near Pittsburgh Samuel Pierpont Langley observed the 1882 transit of Venus with the 13-inch equatorial, stopped down at 6-inch. The observation was so interupted by clouds, that the times of contact had little value. Langley however did see the bright polar spot between first and second contact at ingress. The observatory was demolished in the mid-1950s. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 40°27′42″.3 N, 80°00′42″.9 W    times of contact

At the building site of the new Leander McCormick Observatory at Charlottesville, Virginia, its director Ormond Stone observed the transit with a 10-centimetre telescope, equatorially mounted on a tripod. First contact was lost by clouds. At second contact the clouds became suddenly thinner, and an observation was made by reflection from a sheet of white paper, the sun shade having been removed and there not being time to replace it. Learn more...
Location: 38°01′57″.7 N, 78°31′20″.6 W    times of contact

In 1882 the new Leander McCormick Observatory at Charlottesville, Virginia, was still under construction. Mathematics professor Francis H. Smith observed the 1882 transit of Venus on the northern portico of the Rotunda building. The telescope was transferred from the eastern to the western side of the portico between second and third contacts. Learn more...
Location: 38°02′08″.5 N, 78°30′12″.5 W    times of contact

On the corner of Arnold Park and East Avenue in Rochester, New York an observatory was constructed in 1882 by Hulbert Harington Warner for local astronomer Lewis Swift. Equiped with a 16-inch refractor, the observatory posessed one of the largest instruments in the area. On the day of the transit, clouds intervened the observation and Swift only recorded three brief glimpses of the sun. The Warner Observatory was razed in 1931. Learn more...
Location: 43°09′12″.4 N, 77°35′21″.8 W    times of contact

Warner Observatory
An 1883 picture of Warner Observatory in Rochester, New York. (Picture courtesy of Rochester Public Library)

In 1882 William Harkness observed the transit of Venus from the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington DC, which was then located on the 24th and E Streets site. All four contacts were timed and 53 photographs of the sun were taken. Harkness led the American efforts for the 1882 transit of Venus, reduced the observations and published the final results.
Location: 38°53′42″.2 N, 77°03′05″.3 W    times of contact

At the Signal Service Office in Washington DC, Winslow Upton succesfully made observations of all four contacts with a 3-inch equatorial. At fourth contact he was lucky, as clouds obscured the sun at almost the exact instant of contact. The building of the Signal Service was located at 1719 G Street NW. Learn more...
Location: 38°53′53″.3 N, 77°02′23″.6 W    times of contact

In the observatory and yard of Fauth & Co.’s shop, an instrument business on the southeast corner of First Street and B Street, Washington DC, Charles A. Schott observed the 1882 transit of Venus, assisted by J.G. Porter. Schott was assistant at the Coast and Geodetic Survey. He used a new clock driven 6-inch equatorial made by Camill Fauth, for which the latter had been awarded a gold medal at the Cincinnati Exposition earlier that year. Benjamin A. Colonna observed with a reconnoitering telescope on a tripod stand. Today, the site is occupied by the Rayburn House Office Building. Learn more...
Location: 38°53′14″.7 N, 77°00′42″.0 W    times of contact

In 1870 an observatory was erected in the southwestern portion of the Hobart College campus in Geneva, New York, where Bartlett Hall is now located. The observatory consisted of an octagon tower with a moving dome measuring 17 feet in diameter, and transit and computing rooms at right angles. There was a 9-inch equatorial telescope driven by clockwork. The last two contacts were timed. The observer might have been Hamilton Lamphere Smith, who was professor of astronomy at Hobart College at that time.
Location: 42°51′25″.4 N, 76°59′02″.6 W    times of contact

Hobart Observatory, Geneva
The observatory on Hobart campus, circa 1880

From the Sayre Observatory in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, director Charles Leander Doolittle observed the 1882 transit of Venus. All four contacts could be timed. Today, Sayre Observatory houses the Graduate Student Council of Lehigh University.
Location: 40°36′23″.0 N, 75°22′50″.3 W    times of contact

Sayre Observatory, Bethlehem
The Sayre Observatory in 1890

Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania, had a small observatory, where Isaac Sharpless, who then taught mathematics and astronomy, observed the 1882 transit of Venus. He could time all four contacts.
Location: 40°00′33″.1 N, 75°18′34″.8 W    times of contact

From the Traill Green Observatory at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, Selden Jennings Coffin obtained good results. The sun was unobscured during the entire transit and all four contacts could be observed. Before third contact a rim of light surrounded the planet, which after the contact took the form of a horn on the south-western part of the planet. The observatory was torn down in 1929 to make way for Markle Hall. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 40°41′52″.5 N, 75°12′31″.9 W    times of contact

The Philadelphia station for observing the transit of Venus was at the Central High School building, then located at the southeast corner of Broad and Green Streets. Here observations were taken independently by Prof. Monroe B. Snyder, of the school, and Prof. W.F. Mck. Ritter, of the Nautical Almanac Office, Washington. During the transit the face of the sun was frequently obscured by clouds. Learn more...
Location: 39°57′47″.7 N, 75°09′39″.3 W    times of contact    streetview

Central High School, Philadelphia
Picture taken by Robert Newell of the Central High School at the corner of Broad and Green Streets (Picture courtesy of Brenner Collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia)

At Princeton, New Jersey ten observers watched the 1882 transit of Venus, besides eleven students. At Halsted Observatory three observers watched the phenomenon. Professor Charles Augustus Young observed with the new 23-inch Clark refractor which was installed in the observatory that year. All four contacts were timed and micrometric measures of Venus’ diameter were made. Halsted Observatory was demolished in 1932 to make way for Joline Hall. Learn more...
Location: 40°20′52″.6 N, 74°39′43″.7 W    times of contact

Halsted Observatory
Halsted Observatory at Princeton.

The observatory of the John C. Green School of Science at Princeton was also used to observe and photograph the 1882 transit of Venus. The wooden building, connected with the professor’s residence, was designed merely to furnish the means of instruction in practical astronomy. The main instrument, a 9½-inch equatorial, was used by Cyrus Fogg Brackett to observe the contacts. He was also in charge of the photographic operations. The photographs were made on the same plan as those of the official American expeditions. The photographic house, erected in the observatory grounds, burnt down in early November, but was restored in a week’s time. The observatory was demolished in the 1960’s to make way for Robertson Hall. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 40°20′54″.0 N, 74°39′16″.9 W    times of contact

Women astronomer Maria Mitchell observed and photographed the 1882 transit of Venus from her observatory in the grounds of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Together with her students she used a smaller version of the photoheliostat used by the American expeditions. Also the equatorial resembled the equatorial used by the official transit parties.
Location: 41°41′17″.9 N, 73°53′35″.8 W    times of contact

Vassar College photograph of 1882 transit of Venus Vassar College equatorial
Left: Photograph of the 1882 transit of Venus taken at Vassar College by Maria Mitchell and her students. (Picture courtesy of Vassar College Library) Right: The equatorial in the dome of Mitchell’s observatory. (Picture courtesy of US Naval Observatory Library)

At the observatory of the Columbia University in New York City, John Krom Rees observed the 1882 transit of Venus with the College’s Alvan Clark refractor, which was hoisted up there because the observatory was not finished. When the planet was a little more than half-way on the sun, he saw a line of light shining through Venus’ atmosphere, marking out the portion of the planet’s disk not seen on the sun. At the time, Columbia University Observatory was located on the top of the law school building at the campus, bounded by 49th and 50th Street and Madison and Park Avenue.
Location: 40°45′25″.7 N, 73°58′29″.3 W    times of contact

Columbia University, New York City
Columbia University at Madison Avenue in New York City. The observatory is located on the roof, giving it a mechanical elevation above the horizon of the surrounding roofs. In the background is St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

In 1882 the observatory of Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut used two brand new instruments to watch the transit of Venus. Leonard Waldo observed with the heliometer of Repsold and Sons, then the largest one in America. An 8-inch Grubb refractor, financed by E.M. Reed, was used for photographing the sun during the transit. All four contacts could be timed, about 150 photographs were produced and micrometer measures of the planet’s diameter were made. Today, a portion of Yale Observatory still survives as part of the Celentano School at Canner Street. The Reed telescope is now at the Leither Family Observatory. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 41°19′28″.2 N, 72°55′18″.4 W    times of contact    streetview

Yale Observatory Reed telescope building
Yale Observatory. Left: The dome of the Yale heliometer. Only the main building survived. Right: The Reed telescope building, which stood about 55 m east of the heliometer dome.

Professor Charles Augustus Young of Princeton was also a lecturer at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts and contributed greatly to the astronomical development there. After careful preparations he sent one of his Princeton graduate students, R F West, to Mount Holyoke College to observe the transit from the John Payson Williston Observatory. The enterprise had partial success, because the morning was cloudy and the beginning of the transit could not be observed. When the clouds had disappeared, hundreds of students and others visited the dome to see the image of the sun projected by the 8-inch equatorial. Learn more...
Location: 42°15′21″.8 N, 72°34′39″.3 W    times of contact    streetview

John Payson Williston Observatory
The observatory at Mount Holyoke College. (Picture from Sarah D. Stow, History of Mount Holyoke Seminary, 1887)

From his private observatory in Providence, Rhode Island, Frank Evans Seagrave observed and photographed the 1882 transit of Venus. He used an 8¼-inch Alvan Clark refractor. The photographs were taken with a 3-inch aperture object glass of 60 inches focal length and enlarged by an eyepiece to 4 inches in diameter. The plates used were Eastman’s dry gelatine instantaneous plates. The brick observatory building was located in the backyard of his father’s house at 119 Benefit Street. The observatory has been demolished and the refractor is now being used at the Seagrave Observatory in North Scituate.
Location: 41°49′48″.5 N, 71°24′30″.0 W    times of contact    streetview

Seagrave Observatory
Picture of the observatory of Frank Seagrave in the backyard of his father’s house, dated 1939. (Picture courtesy of Dave Huestis)

Using the 15-inch refractor at Harvard College Observatory, stopped down to 6 inches, its director Edward Charles Pickering observed each of the four contacts of the 1882 transit of Venus. He made spectroscopic and photometric observations. Arthur Searle observed egress with a 5-inch telescope, which was attached to a rigid frame and aimed at a movable mirror. Also engaged in the observation were Oliver Clinton Wendell, J.R. Edwards, Seth Carlo Chandler and William Henry Pickering (Edward’s brother). Learn more...
Location: 42°22′53″.4 N, 71°07′41″.9 W    times of contact    streetview

Telescope maker Alvan Graham Clark observed the 1882 transit of Venus from his establishment at 50 Henry Street in Cambridgeport. He was accompanied by Carl Axel Robert Lundin. The factory was razed in 1936.
Location: 42°21′18″.6 N, 71°06′32″.6 W    times of contact

An expedition led by Simon Newcomb travelled to South Africa to oberserve and photograph the transit of Venus. He set up his instruments in Wellington, in the grounds of the Huguenot Seminary for Girls. Alongside the professional American astronomers, three female teachers of the seminary observed the transit of Venus from their own small observatory. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 33°38′09″.4 S, 19°00′34″.0 E    times of contact

Another US expedition to Auckland, New Zealand, was led by Edwin Smith. The observatory was constructed on a small hill in the Auckland Domain, since that time known as Observatory Hill. For half a century afterwards a memorial marked the site of the observatory. Now this monument has been pulled down and the site is covered by the south-western portion of the War Memorial Museum.
Location: 36°51′39″.8 S, 174°46′39″.3 E    times of contact

CANADA

The director of McGill Observatory in Montréal, Clement Henry McLeod, observed the transit from Winnipeg, Manitoba. A small and unpretentious looking rough board shanty was constructed a few rods east of Main Street, a little north of the St. John’s Ladies College. The only shelter which the observers enjoyed was that afforded by the walls of the building, as the roof had to be opened for the taking of the observations. The drifting snow did not greatly obstruct the vision at the time of the internal contact at egress. Learn more...
Location: 49°55′12″.2 N, 97°07′41″.1 W    times of contact

At the Toronto Magnetic and Meteorological Observatory a 6-inch Cooke equatorial was bought for the occasion of the 1882 transit of Venus. For this instrument a dome was added to the building. The telescope was erected in November, just in time for the transit. The director of the observatory, Charles Carpmael, performed the observations. The observatory was located on the site where the Sandford Fleming Building now is. In 1908 the building was taken down and re-erected in front of Hart House, where it still is. Learn more...
Location: 43°39′36″.4 N, 79°23′42″.1 W    times of contact

The young ladies of the Ontario Ladies’ College at Whitby, Ontario, crowded out in numbers and had a splendid chance for witnessing the transit of Venus. It was shown to them by principal John James Hare, who set up a 6-inch telescope in the grounds of the college. Also engaged in the observation was Christopher Johnson.
Location: 43°52′42″.7 N, 78°55′58″.7 W    times of contact

From the observatory of Faraday Hall at Cobourg, Ontario, A.R. Bain observed the transit of Venus. Internal contact at egress was observed and the time taken, but the external contact was hidden by clouds. The illumination of the atmosphere of Venus after internal contact at egress was very distinct, and observed independently at the station by the three parties entrusted with the observations. The planet, when on the solar disc, appeared of a greenish-grey colour. No black drop was seen.
Location: 43°57′55″.9 N, 78°09′49″.5 W    times of contact

Victoria College
An 1878 picture of Victoria College and Faraday Hall in Cobourg, Canada. Victoria College still stands, but Faraday Hall has been demolished in 1909. (Picture courtesey of Cobourg Public Library)

The year before the transit, the Queen’s University Observatory in Kingston was transferred to a location just west of where Carruthers Hall now stands. James Williamson used the observatory’s 6½-inch Alvan Clark equatorial to observe the transit of Venus. The telescope is now on display in the lobby of Stirling Hall. The observatory was taken down in 1901. Learn more...
Location: 44°13′34″.7 N, 76°29′38″.3 W    times of contact

Queen′s University Observatory
Queen’s University Observatory next to Carruthers Hall.

On Nepean Point in Ottawa, Frank L. Blake had erected an observatory, consisting of a small tent, about twenty feet square, arranged in such a manner that the top could be thrown back, thus allowing free scope for the observations. Ingress and egress could be observed in between a snow storm with a 4-inch achromat on an altazimuth mounting. Learn more...
Location: 45°25′46″.3 N, 75°42′04″.8 W    times of contact

At the McGill Observatory in Montréal, Canada, three observing parties assembled to compare chronometers with the clock and went to their several stations. Alexander Johnson at the observatory projected the sun onto the wall of the observatory by means of the finder telescope, giving an image of about 4½ inches in diameter. The sun was hidden behind clouds until after the first two contacts, then it shone out shortly. Just after eleven the clouds came over again and continued the rest of the day. The snow coming on, the cap was put on the telescope and the shutter of its roof closed. The observatory was demolished in 1963 to make way for the Stephen Leacock building. A brass plaque commemorates the observatory. Two other stations were occupied by Mr. Chandler near to the reservoir in Parc Rutherford where a wooden hut had been erected, and by J.R. Murray on the balcony of the Arts Building. Learn more...
Location: 45°30′15″.7 N, 73°34′41″.1 W    times of contact

When the day broke on 1882 December 6, a heavy snow storm was raging in Québec. At Québec Observatory on the Plains of Abraham William Austin Ashe used a 20-cm Clark refractor to get a momentary glimpse of Venus. Only for a few minutes the sun’s disc became visible and even then the view was partially obscured by the light vapoury clouds passing across the sun’s face. Lieut. Andrew Gordon also took part in the observations. The observatory was torn down in 1936 and in 1987 a commemorative sundial was erected on the site. Learn more...
Location: 46°47′58″.3 N, 71°13′15″.1 W    times of contact

Cloudy weather interfered seriously with the observation of the 1882 transit of Venus by William Brydone Jack and John Babbit at the University of New Brunswick Observatory in Fredricton, Canada. They used a 6-inch Merz equatorial refractor, which was mounted in a small wooden octagonal dome. The observatory now houses a museum. Learn more...
Location: 45°56′53″.2 N, 66°38′26″.4 W    times of contact

The sky was obscured in Saint John, New Brunswick throughout the day, though about 3 o’clock a break in the clouds afforded occasional glimpses of the transit. The members of the Commons Council armed with opera glasses made several observations from the Court House, and Venus was plainly visible at times to the naked eye, as a small black sphere on the face of the sun. Learn more...
Location: 45°16’25″.3 N, 66°03′24″.8 W    times of contact

FRANCE

French astronomer Jean Jacques Anatole Bouquet de la Grye set up a station at Fort Loreto near the Mexican city of Puebla to observe the 1882 transit of Venus. The Mexican cavalry was stationed around the fort to keep curious people on a distance. Prior to the transit, his team trained with an artificial transit positioned about half a mile distant at Fort Guadelupe. On the day of the transit, all four contacts could be timed despite some cirrus clouds. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 19°03′28″.2 N, 98°11′13″.5 W    times of contact

Fort Loreto, Puebla
Fort Loreto near Puebla, Mexico in the nineteenth century.

Fort Marion near St Augustine, Florida was chosen by François Perrier to set up his station for observing the 1882 transit of Venus. The two equatorials of 8 and 6 inches and the photographic telescope were placed on the southern wall of the fort, and the transit instrument was located on the northern wall. On the day of the transit the weather was perfect: clear skies, no wind and only some distant clouds close to the horizon. All four contacts could be timed and about 200 photographs of the sun were taken. The expedition placed a commemorative white marble plaque above the door of the fort’s chapel. That plaque is now in storage at the National Park Service Archive in Jacksonville. Learn more...[1] [2] [3]
Location: 29°53′52″.1 N, 81°18′41″.5 W    times of contact    streetview

Fort Marion in 1882 Commemorative plaque, Fort Marion
Left: The sheds for the instruments at Fort Marion, St Augustine, December 1882. (Picture courtesy of Collection of the St. Augustine Historical Society) Right: The commemorative plaque which used to be above the door of the chapel. (Picture by Anne R. Lewellen, United States National Park Service, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument)

A French party under direction of Octave de Bernardières went all the way to Chile. They chose a site somewhat removed from Santiago, in order not to double the observation of the National Observatory. They settled at a residence on the Cerro Negro, owned at that time by Valentin Marcoleta. It was located close to the town of San Bernardo, about 20 kilometers south of Santiago. All four contacts could be observed. A tombstone which was recently found in the parochial cemetery of San Bernardo mentioning the French expedition was lost during renovation works. Learn more...
Location: 33°36′51″.0 S, 70°40′32″.2 W    times of contact

For the international polar year, the French vessel Romanche under command of Captain Louis-Ferdinand Martial established a base at Orange Bay on the Hardy Peninsula near Cape Horn for observations on astronomy, meteorology, and magnetism, to survey the coast of Tierra del Fuego, and to make biological collections. The various prefabricated buildings housed a land party of 21. Lieutenant J.L. Courcelle-Seneuil made observations of the transit of Venus in clear weather. There is a flat sandstone slab, into which "Expédition Romanche 1882" is chiseled. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 55°31′19″.6 S, 68°05′41″.9 W    times of contact

Orange Bay, Chile
The French station at Orange Bay. In the middle, at a higher elevation, is the astronomical pavilion. (Picture taken from Louis-Ferdinand Martial, Mision al Cabo de Hornos (2005), courtesy of Sergio Zagier)

In October 1882 Félix Tisserand, accompanied by Guillaume Bigourdan, arrived at Martinique. They first explored the island to search for an observing spot and decided to erect their instruments at Fort Tartenson, not far from Fort-de-France. Learn more...
Location: 14°36′24″.8 N, 61°04′36″.7 W    times of contact

In 1882 the two brothers Paul-Pierre and Mathieu-Prosper Henri of the Paris Observatory were invited to set up a station on the summit of Pic du Midi de Bigorre to observe the transit of Venus. There, a new observatory had been constructed. However, because of the severe weather they were forced to install their station at the old Plantade observatory on the Col de Sencours, just 400 meters below the summit. On the day of the transit, the Sencours was wrapped in clouds and nothing could be seen. Learn more...
Location: 42°55′49″.8 N, 0°08′18″.5 E    times of contact

From an upper window of the Hôtel du Louvre et de la Paix at Marseille, Samuel Jenkins Johnson directed the only instrument at his disposal, a 2¼-inch telescope by Cooke, at the sun to observe the 1882 transit of Venus. He had obtained time from the observatory. Today, only the facade of the hotel has survived as part of a store. Learn more...
Location: 43°17′48″.6 N, 5°22′42″.6 E    times of contact    streetview

The director of the Observatoire de Marseille, Édouard Stephan, observed the 1882 transit of Venus with the 80-cm telescope, mounted in a dome in the grounds of the observatory on Plateau Longchamp. At first the sky was clear, but in the afternoon clouds started to obscure the sun. Only during ingress there was a momentary break in the clouds. Today, the actual dome is gone, but the telescope is still on display. Learn more...
Location: 43°18′21″.2 N, 5°23′41″.6 E    times of contact

Most of the buildings of the Observatoire de Nice still being under construction on the summit of Mont Gros, André Puiseux observed the 1882 transit of Venus from the building site by projecting the sun’s image. Also, a couple of photographs were made with a simple device, consisting of a wooden case attached to a 11-cm telescope. Other personnel of the observatory watched the transit elsewhere: director Henri Perrotin travelled to Patagonia, Argentina and Louis Thollon observed the transit from Avila, Spain. Learn more...
Location: 43°43′33″.2 N, 7°18′01″.1 E    times of contact

SWITSERLAND

At the Observatoire Cantonal in Neuchâtel, Switserland, Adolph Hirsch at first planned to observe from the summit of the Chaumont, because the observatory at the lakeside usually experienced a lot of fog during winter. A storm however promised clear skies and Hirsch and his assistent decided to remain at the observatory to observe the 1882 transit of Venus. In spring 2007 the observatory was closed down. Learn more...
Location: 47°00′00″.2 N, 6°57′10″.4 E    times of contact

AUSTRALIA

At Melbourne Observatory the morning started overcast, but about one hour after sunrise, the sun broke through the clouds and the last part of the transit could be seen. Robert Lewis John Ellery used the 8-inch equatorial and James E. Gilbert the 4½-inch Simms’ equatorial. A number of twenty-three good photographs of the transit were obtained.
Location: 37°49′45″.9 S, 144°58′31″.2 E    times of contact

In 1874 amateur astronomer Alfred Barrett Biggs assisted the American expedition with the observations of the transit of Venus in Campbelltown on Tasmania. About 1879 he had moved to Launceston on Tasmania, where he constructed an observatory in Royal Park to house his 2-inch and 3-inch refractors. From this observatory Biggs watched the 1882 transit of Venus. There is a marker commemorating Biggs, but the monument is somewhat to the east of the location of the former observatory.
Location: 41°26′18″.7 S, 147°07′54″.2 E    times of contact

NEW ZEALAND

From his home at 122 Park Terrace in Christchurch, James Townsend, together with Walter Kitson, observed with a 6-inch refractor by Cooke and Sons (operated by Kitson) and a smaller 3.375-inch Dallmeyer equatorial. In 1891 Townsend donated his large telescope to Canterbury College. The telescope was transferred to the observatory tower in the Christchurch Arts Centre on Hereford Street. This tower was destroyed in the 2011 earthquake, but the telescope survived, being moved to a nearby building before the earthquake. The house of Townsend at Park Terrace was demolished in 1936 and replaced with another building. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 43°31′20″.5 S, 172°37′37″.2 E    times of contact

House of James Townsend in Christchurch
The house of James Townsend at Park Terrace, Christchurch. The house was demolished in 1936. (Picture from G.L. Clark, Rolleston Avenue and Park Terrace, 1979)

In 1882 Arthur Samuel Atkinson, a local lawyer and amateur astronomer at Nelson, New Zealand, was asked by the Royal Society of London to be an official observer of the transit of Venus. Assisted by his wife Jane Maria and his friend Maurice Richmond, he observed the transit from a small hut near his residence Fairfield House. He succesfully made his observations using a 4-inch Browning refractor and reported back to the Society. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 41°17′03″.0 S, 173°17′00″.2 E    times of contact

Arthur Atkinson at Nelson
Arthur Atkinson (standing), his wife and Maurice Richmond (seated at the left) in their observatory after the transit. (Picture courtesy of Harry Atkinson)

From the Colonial Time Service Observatory in the Botanical Garden in Wellington, New Zealand, Archdeacon Arthur Stock and Thomas King observed the 1882 transit of Venus. It was a time-service observatory pure and simple, and therefore structurally it was of but modest proportions, consisting merely of a transit-room and a clock-room. Both observers used 4-inch telescopes and each was assisted by two other men, one with a chronometer and the other to write down what was said by the observers. Two policemen were also stationed at the observatory to gain perfect quiet. In 1906 the observatory was demolished to allow Prime Minister Richard Seddon to be buried there. Richard John Seddon’s Memorial is now located on the observatory′s original site. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 41°16’46″.3 S, 174°46′18″.4 E    times of contact

Colonial Time Service Observatory
The Colonial Time Service Observatory at Wellington. The building stood on the edge of the Bolton Street cemetery.

In 1882 a temporary observatory was built on Mount Cook, Wellington, to prepare for the observation of the transit of Venus. It was located on a knoll in the southern part of Wellington. Charles William Adams performed the observations (noteworthy, Adams was the neighbour of James Townsend at Park Terrace in Christchurch). An image of the sun was projected on a screen by a 4-inch telescope, mounted on an ordinary stand and set up just outside the observatory’s door. Inside the building were a 3-inch transit instrument, two sidereal clocks and a chronograph, and a zenith telescope. The observatory was demolished shortly after the observations were made in 1883. In 1936 the Dominion Museum was built on the site, which is now part of the Wellington campus of Massey University. Learn more...
Location: 41°17′58″.6 S, 174°46′36″.2 E    times of contact

Thomas Cheeseman was an amateur astronomer who built his own telescopes. At his residence Maranui at Remuera he had an observatory fully fitted up and provided with revolving roof and shutters, presented to him in recognition of is valuable assistance, by the American astronomers who came out to New Zealand to observe the 1882 transit of Venus. Here, he observed the transit himself with a large reflecting telescope, together with his friends. His observations were not for scientific purposes, however. All of Cheeseman’s astronomical papers were trashed after his death in 1907. The house, which was at the site of 47 Benson Road, was demolished recently.
Location: 36°52′24″.0 S, 174°48′34″.6 E    times of contact

Maranui, Remuera
Thomas Cheeseman’s residence Maranui at Remuera. (Picture courtesey of Pip Grant-Taylor)

John Grigg had fitted up a temporary observatory in one of the rooms of his establishments in 719 Pollen Street, Thames. Here he had a furnishing business and a music store. The apparatus was provided by Mr. Grigg and adjusted accurately. Mr. Foy was in attendance to photograph the sun during the transit and the Rev. Mr. & Mrs. Neil recorded the time of the different occurrences by means of a seconds pendulum in the lower room.Learn more...
Location: 37°08′06″.3 S, 175°32′24″.5 E    times of contact    streetview

IRELAND

From his private wooden observatory, located on a flat roof of his residence Millbrook House in Milltown, Galway, astronomer John Birmingham observed the transit of Venus up to sunset in a cloudless sky. He probably used his 4½-inch Cooke refracting telescope, which is now on display at the Millbrook Community Museum. The contact observations however had little value due to the atmospheric disturbance. The house is now in a ruinous state on the Milltown-Dunmore Road. Learn more...
Location: 53°37′20″.6 N, 8°53′33″.6 W    times of contact

Millbrook House
The remnants of Millbrook House in Milltown, Galway. (Picture by Andy Newman, Tuam)

At Crawford Observatory in Cork, Ireland, professor J. England observed the 1882 transit with the 8-inch Grubb refractor, furnished with a polarising eye-piece. Under a clear blue cloudless sky he timed internal contact at ingress. The observatory was chiefly intended for educational purposes. So, when the planet was fairly on the disk of the sun, England showed the transit to over one hundred students by projecting the sun’s image on a piece of paper.
Location: 51°53′33″.2 N, 8°29′31″.5 W    times of contact

At the private Markree Castle Observatory near Sligo, Ireland, William Doberck turned the large 25-inch refractor, stopped down to five inches, to the sun to observe the 1882 transit of Venus. The telescope was equatorialy mounted on a pyramid of black marble blocks and there was no dome or roof over the circular wall. Fortunately, Doberck had good clear conditions. Today, only the circular wall of the observatory is still there. The objective of the telescope is now stored in the basement of Manila Observatory. Learn more...
Location: 54°10′30″.7 N, 8°27′27″.1 W    times of contact

Next to Daramona House near Cornacausk, Ireland, William Edward Wilson had built an observatory. In 1882 he observed the transit of Venus with his new 24-inch reflector, stopped down to 12 inches. The sky was cloudless all day. In the morning, before ingress, Wilson tried to spot a Venusian satellite, but none was found. In the afternoon, after ingress, he looked without success for absorption lines from the atmosphere of Venus using a visual spectroscope. Today, the dome of the out of use observatory has been removed and the building is in a ruinous condition. Learn more...
Location: 53°41′14″.2 N, 7°29′33″.9 W    times of contact

From the observatory of Lawrence Parsons, earl of Rosse, at Birr Castle the transit of Venus was observed with the 3-foot reflector by projecting an enlarged image on a screen. It was seen occasionally between the clouds, but at the moments of contact, the sun was invisible. Learn more...
Location: 53°05′42″.1 N, 7°54′52″.2 W    times of contact

In 1882 a snowstorm bothered Robert Stawell Ball when he tried to observe the transit of Venus from Dunsink Observatory, just outside Dublin. At length the clouds dispered and Ball got a short glimpse of Venus on the low sun. “Still, to have seen even a part of a transit of Venus,” Ball wrote, “is an event to remember for a lifetime, and we felt more delight than can be easily expressed at even this slight gleam of success.” Learn more...
Location: 53°23′14″.5 N, 6°20′19″.6 W    times of contact

DENMARK

In 1882 a Danish expedition led by Carl Frederick Pechüle headed for the Caribbean to observe the transit of Venus. First, they planned to erect a station on the island of St. Thomas, but as a Brazilian expedition was allready stationed there, the Danish choose the island of St. Croix as their destination. They could use the observatory of Andrew Lang, but this was inaccessible because of heavy roads. Therefore, Pechüle installed his observating station close to the estate Bülowsminde.
Location: 17°44′23″.7 N, 64°43′38″.7 W    times of contact

CHILE

From his summer residence in San Bernardo at Calle Urmeneta 560, Don Diego Barros Arana observed the transit of Venus with professor of mathemetics and close friend Alejandro Andonaegui. With an equatorial of 11 centimeters aperture, they observed ingress and timed interior contact with an excellent chronometer.
Location: 33°34′46″.4 S, 70°42′08″.4 W    times of contact

From the Observatorio Nacional at Quinta Normal Park in Santiago, Chile, director José Ignacio Vergara observed the transit of Venus with the 25-cm telescope, which had just been mounted, and the meridian circle. His son, Luis A. Vergara, observed with the 11-cm equatorial and engineer assistant Luis Grosch observed with the 18-cm telescope. The day of the transit was perfectly clear and the times of the two interior contacts and of the last contact could be secured. Today, the old observatory houses the Escuela Tecnica Aeronautica.
Location: 33°26′40″.5 S, 70°40′57″.7 W    times of contact

BRAZIL

Just outside Punta Arenas, Chile, the Brazilian expedition led by Luis Cruls set up wooden huts for their intruments. On the day of the transit, all four contacts could be timed under good circumstances. Independent observations were carried out by captain Luiz Philippe de Saldanha da Gama of the frigate Parnahyba at Quartermaster Island, but due to poor weather these observations failed. Learn more...
Location: 53°10′03″.7 S, 70°55′00″.1 W    times of contact

Brazilian station, Punta Arenas
The observing huts of the Brazilian expedition, just outside Punta Arenas

A Brazilian party, led by Antonio Luis von Hoonholtz, Baron de Teffé, set up an observatory on Ma Folie on St. Thomas. It consisted of three wooden huts. Ingress couldn’t be observed because of clouds and rain, but the other two contacts could be timed. Today, on the terrace of a private residence, the pillar for the collimator still stands and a commemorating plaque has been put up. Learn more...
Location: 18°21′02″.8 N, 64°55′44″.4 W    times of contact

Collimator pillar, St. Thomas
The collimator pillar at Ma Folie on St. Thomas. A plaque commemorates the observation of the Brazilian party. (Picture by Jacqueline Mitton, © Jacqueline Mitton, Total Astronomy Ltd, 2008)

Brazilian astronomer Julião de Oliveira Lacaille was in charge of an expedition to Olinda, Brazil to observe the 1882 transit of Venus. In front of the cathedral, with a privileged view over the entire old town, he set up his instruments in prefabricated observatories. On the day of the transit, he didn’t notice anything like a black drop effect at both interior contacts. There is an obelisk with a plate commemorating the observation of the transit of Venus. Learn more...
Location: 8°00′48″.9 S, 34°50′59″.2 W    times of contact

Observatories at Olinda, Brazil Obelisk with commemorative plates, Olinda
Left: The main observatory at Olinda, Brazil. The octagonal part of the building houses a 6 feet equatorial telescope and the other part on the right holds the transit instrument. (Picture courtesy of John G. Wolbach Library, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) Right: The obelisk with plates commemorating the 1882 observation (top) as well as the 2004 observation (bottom).

MEXICO

The astronomical and meteorological observatory at Zacatecas, Mexico was inaugurated on the day of the 1882 transit of Venus. The director of the new observatory, José Árbol y Bonilla, observed the phenomenon with a magnificent equatorial. Because of intervening clouds, only the internal contact at ingress could be timed. Learn more...
Location: 22°46′43″.7 N, 102°34′02″.1 W    times of contact

From the observatory in Mexico City, located at the Castillio de Chapultepec, director Angel Anguiano observed the 1882 transit of Venus with a 32-cm refractor. Unfortunately, the skies were cloudy in Mexico City and only ingress could be observed.
Location: 19°25′14″.1 N, 99°10′53″.1 W    times of contact

From the observatory of the Colegio Católico del Sagrado Corazón in Puebla, Mexico, Jesuit Father Pedro Spina observed the 1882 transit of Venus. The observatory was situated on the upper floor and roof of the college. An equarotially mounted telescope of 11.6 cm aperture, acquired in 1882, was installed in a circular room of 3.2 m diameter with a rotating dome. Today, the former Jesuit college at 11 Sur 1102 houses a primary school.
Location: 19°02′38″.7 N, 98°12′30″.5 W    times of contact

CUBA

In 1882 the director of the observatory of the Real Colegio de Belén in Havanna, Benito Viñes Martorell, travelled to Europe to buy new equipment for the observatory. The observatory was located on he roof of the college. A new Cooke equatorial telescope of 15 cm aperture was later installed, with which he observed the transit of Venus the same year.
Location: 23°07′57″.7 N, 82°21′11″.3 W    times of contact

SPAIN

A Spanish expedition led by Tómas de Azcárate set up an equatorial telescope and a transit instrument in the Arsenal of San Juan in Puerto Rico. De Azcárate was assisted by José de Ibarra. They observed all contacts exept for the external contact at egress, because they had to change the eye-piece at the very moment.
Location: 18°27′45″.9 N, 66°06′56″.0 W    times of contact

PORTUGAL

Just outside Lisbon, at the Observatório da Tapada da Ajuda, its director Fredrico Augusto Oom observed the 1882 transit of Venus. He was accompanied by astronomers Alves do Rio and Campos Rodrigues.
Location: 38°42′37″.9 N, 9°11′14″.8 W    times of contact

At the astronomical observatory of the University of Coimbra Francisco da Costa Pessoa, interim assistant, and Francisco António de Miranda, observatory guard and mechanic, observed the 1882 transit of Venus. Only ingress was visible from Coimbra and the weather was very cloudy. With the 4-inch telescope by Troughton and Simms Pessoa observed first and second contact. Miranda, observing with the 5.85-inch equatorial only timed second contact. The observatory, built in 1799, was used until 1951, when it moved to Alto de Santa Clara. The old building was demolished afterwards. Learn more...
Location: 40°12′25″.6 N, 8°25′33″.6 W    times of contact

Observatories at Olinda, Brazil
Coimbra Observatory building on the University’s Patio das Escolas. (1865 engraving courtesy of Vitor Bonifácio)

ITALY

From the observatory tower of the Osservatario di Moncalieri father Francesco Denza observed the 1874 transit of Venus with a 4-inch Merz refractor, carefully following the instructions published by Simon Newcomb. Although the observatory at the Real Collegio was already founded in 1859, the tower was only constructed in 1877. The observatory is still in use today as a meteorological station. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 45°00′00″.0 N, 7°41′03″.8 E    times of contact

At the Osservatorio di Brera in Milan a low sun and a turbulent atmosphere caused a heavy boiling solar image during the observation of the 1882 transit of Venus. Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli, together with two other observers, used telescopes by Short, Dollond and Ramsden. Learn more...
Location: 45°28′17″.5 N, 9°11′21″.2 E    times of contact

Italian astronomer Pietro Tacchini observed the 1882 transit of Venus from the Royal Observatory at the Collegio Romano in Rome. The observatory’s new domes were located on the roof of the adjacent church of St. Ignazio. Tacchini made spectrocopic observations with a 25-cm Merz equatorial. Learn more...[1] [2]
Location: 41°53′55″.7 N, 12°28′47″.7 E    times of contact

Osservatorio del Collegio Romano
The domes of the Royal Observatory at the Collegio Romano on top of the church of St. Ignazio viewed from the Torre Calandrelli, the old observatory tower.

At the Osservatorio di Palermo astronomer Gaetano Cacciatore had planned to obtain the times of contact by traditional observation and by spectroscopic methods. The latter method was typical of Italian observations. All went well, though the black drop still made it difficult to define the moment of internal contact. Learn more...
Location: 38°06′41″.4 N, 13°21′11″.8 E    times of contact

At the observatory of Capodimonte near Naples, chief astronomer Arminio Nobile, assisted by Francesco Contarino and Filippo Angelitti, observed the 1882 transit of Venus. Nobile noticed that, when Venus was on the solar disc, its colour wasn′t uniform and its limb wasn’t well defined, but variable instead. Learn more...
Location: 40°51’48″.6 N, 14°15′19″.8 E    times of contact

GREECE

On the Hill of the Nymphs near Athens, at the National Observatory, its director Johann Friedrich Julius Schmidt observed the 1882 transit of Venus. On the terrace of the observatery he set up a five feet refractor and a two feet solar telescope, which was used by his assistant Alexander Wurlisch. Another observer of the observatory, Demetrius Kokkidis, observed with a six feet refractor at the dome. Learn more...
Location: 37°58′24″.2 N, 23°43′05″.8 E    times of contact

Acknowledgments

Carl Barry and Lilian Fletcher located the residence of William Crabtree. Paul Maley located the Belgian and American stations at San Antonio, Texas and sent me the co-ordinates of Lindsay’s observatory on Mauritius. Willie Koorts located the American station at Wellington and told me where the piers at Touwsrivier are located. He also sent me a copy of the official report of the British observations of the 1882 transit of Venus. The location of Chappe d’Auteroche’s observatory in Tobolsk was found by Eric Elst, who performed an on-site survey in October 2005.
I would like to thank Martin George for pointing out the locations of the 1874 American station at Hobart and the observatory of Alfred Biggs in Launceston. He also sent me pictures of the site at Campbelltown. Josie Wilson told me where the plaque commemorating the 1874 American station at Queenstown is located. Guus Besuijen confirmed my choice of the location of Jan de Munck’s 1761 observatory and Gerard Strien provided me a copy of an article on the history of the building. Jerry Grover gave me valuable information on the 1882 British expedition to Jimbour, including an excerpt from an unpublished book by Charles Grover. Ken Crooke and Catherine Haydock also sent me information on the Jimbour station. I’m grateful to Gary Senn, who sent me the address of the home which is now on the 1882 Aiken site, as well as an article by John Weems, who lived at the address until his death less than a year before the transit of 2004. Barry Johnson told me where the historical marker for Rittenhouse’s observatory at Norristown is located and sent me a picture of the marker. Dario Camufo gave me valuable information on the location of Giovanni Poleni’s home in Padova. Fred Smith gave me directions where to find the plaque in St. John’s and sent me pictures of it. The help of Peter Broughton was instrumental in finding the place of Samuel Holland’s house in Québec. Bill Sheehan communicated the coordinates of the American, French and Mexican sites in Japan, determined by Masatsugu Minami, Masami Murakami and Naoya Matsumoto. He also forwarded pictures of Roger Manley of the iron frame at Aiken. Nandivada Rathnasree pointed out the location of the former Daba Gardens Observatory in Visakhapatnam. Dave Huestis provided information on the observatory of Frank Seagrave in Providence and sent me a picture of the observatory building and pictures of the site. Hilmar Duerbeck sent copies of his articles on the German nineteenth-century expeditions, which were most helpfull for identifying the locations of the observing sites at Terror Cove and Isfahan. Nuno Crato helped with Teodoro de Almeida’s observing site and Luís Tirapicos sent me a picture of the Convent and Church of Congregados. Vitor Bonifácio retrieved the full names of Coimbra astronomers Pessoa and Miranda and sent me a picture of Coimbra Observatory. Angus Winchester found the transit of Venus entry in Isaac Fletcher’s diary and told me where his farmhouse is located. Marcelo Mallea helped me finding the location of Cerro Negro near San Bernardo en keeps me informed on archeologic researches in the area. José Manuel Vaquero sent me a scan of Bartolache’s observational report, which was instrumental in locating his observing site. Manuel Aguirre Botello told me about the history of the Casas del Cabildo in Mexico City. Charles Tingley told me where Fort Marion’s commemorative plaque is in storage and sent me a picture of the French expedition and other old pictures of the fort; Anne Lewellen sent me close-up pictures of the plaque. Kees Sigmond assisted me with finding the house of Gerardus Kuypers and sent me a picture of it. Gordon Thompson helped me with finding the location of the commemorative plaque in Goulburn, sent me pictures of it, as well as an article by Stephen Tazewell. David Bromwich showed me where Maures Horner lived in 1882. Nick Ritchie informed me about the locations of the two plaques and the street sign commemorating William Crabtree in Salford. Jody White provided an old map of Eden, showing the Market Square. Rex Baron sent me the co-ordinates of the Burnham Fundamental and Bratt Manning sent me pictures of the three brick pillars at Burnham. Jennifer Williams found the location of the grounds of William Turner in Beechworth. Chatherine Schrein, current resident at the Stirling Manor site in Basking Ridge, told me about its location and history. Sergio Zagier sent me scans of pictures taken by the French expedition at Orange Bay. Magda Stavinschi pointed out the locations of churches in Iasi, which were used by Oppolzer as bearings markers, and sent me scans of articles by Oppolzer and Weiss from the Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien. Robert Heinz sent me scans of Palitzsch’ report and a picture of a model of his farm, and he told me where the farms of Palitzsch and Gärtner were located. Luisa Schiavone informed me on Beccaria’s observing spot. Jay Williamson put me on track of Tristram Dalton’s estate in West Newbury. Gabriele Plauensteiner sent me pictures of the observatory tower of Schloß Wetzlas and put me on track of the full name of the observer. Jacqui Smith found the location of the former Townsend residence and sent me copies from Clark’s book. Jed Page told me where the estate Bülowsminde was located and his grandfather Robert Johnson sent me copies of the Avis of 1882 December 2 with an article of William Hovgaard. Viv Gregg told me where the music shop of his great great grandfather was located in Thames, New Zealand. Tina Hammond let me know that John Plummer observed from a pleace nearby the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse on Bermuda. James Pringle pointed out the location of Lord Alemoor’s villa at Hawkhill. The scans of the articles from Copernicus giving accounts of the observations at Markree Observatory and Armagh Observatory were provided by John McFarland of Armagh Observatory and forwarded to me by Victor Reijs. Jose Maza pointed out where the old observatory at Quinta Normal, Santiago is located. Simon Mitton sent me pictures of the pillar at Ma Folie on St. Thomas. Deva Ramasawmy sent me pictures of the site near Port Mathurin where the British occupied an observing station. Pip Grant-Taylor provided valuable information on the residence of Thomas Cheeseman and sent me a picture of the house and an obituary of Cheeseman. Kelly Carroll sent me a map, showing the location of William Eimbeck’s observation.




Page last modified on 2011 April 30 | © Steven van Roode