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In preparation for the 1874 and 1882 Transits of Venus across the face of the Sun, the U.S. Congress authorized a Commission to organize eight parties of astronomers, equip each party with identical apparatus, and send them to far-flung locations where there was a good chance of capturing these rare astronomical events. For photographic work, each American expedition was equipped with a heliostat that threw sunlight into a long-focus horizontal telescope, and then onto a glass photographic plate. This image of Venus passing in front of the Sun was taken with that equipment, probably in 1882.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Glass Plate (Photographic)
Date made
ca. 1882
overall in box: 8 in x 8 in x 4 3/16 in; 20.32 cm x 20.32 cm x 10.63625 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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