Chasing Venus: Observing the Transits of Venus, 1631-2004

March 24, 2004 – September 5, 2005

National Museum of American History
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

1st Floor, West Wing, SI Libraries Gallery Floor Plan

On June 8, 2004, an extremely rare astronomical event occurred: the planet Venus passed between the sun and earth, the first 'transit of Venus' since 1882, which helped 18th- and 19th-century astronomers calculate the distance from the earth to the sun. Through books, manuscripts, and period scientific instruments, this exhibition examines the scientific and nationalist debates of the day and explains the event's significance today.

No photography permitted

Related book