Unraveling Venus

transit of Venus, Venus, Mrs Morgan's Florilegium, Natalie Waddell,

Venus, sometimes referred to as Earth’s twin, is the brightest object in the sky aside from the Sun and the Moon, and has long been an object of interest for astronomers.

Its nomenclature reflects the peaceful beauty of the brightest celestial wanderer; it is named for the Roman Goddess of beauty. To the Greeks, Venus was known as Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, and to the Babylonians as Ishtar, the Goddess of Love and Fertility.

In the 17th century, Venus played a vital role in confirming Copernicus’ heliocentric theory of the solar system. Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was one of the first to apply the new technology of the telescope to the study of the heavens. In addition to his observations of the Moon and discovery of Jupiter’s four largest satellites, he took detailed observation of the phases of Venus.

In the late 18th century, Venus again united the astronomic (and general scientific) community. 1761 and 1769 marked two transits of Venus. A rare view of Venus crossing the disk of the Sun, transits come in pairs about once each century.

Extracts from a post by spaceflight historian and writer Amy Shira Teitel. Please read the full article at Vintage Space.

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