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The observation of Venus in the skies above the Uttarakhand region of India in 1877

TENNANT, James Francis.
Report on the preparations for, and observations of, the transit of Venus, as seen at Roorkee and Lahore, on December 8, 1874.
Calcutta, Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, 1877. Large 4to. With 3 lithographed plates. Original publisher's paper wrappers. [4], 54 pp.
€ 950
Very rare first (and only early) edition of a report written by colonel James Francis Tennant (1829-1915), who oversaw the whole project to observe and record the transit of Venus across the sun from Roorkee in India, near the foothills of the Himalayas, and Lahore, slightly further west (it was not visible from western Europe). This was the first transit of Venus since 1769, so that greatly improved instruments and the introduction of photography promised great opportunities for new discoveries. The transits come in pairs, but after the associated transit in 1882 there were to be no more until 2004, so it was essential to be thoroughly prepared and to set up in locations where good weather could be expected.
The report contains every relevant detail pertaining to the observation; from the preparations and necessary calculations to set up the equipment to the all-important results. In the preface, written in 1877 at the Royal mint in Calcutta, Tennant apologises for the delay in the publication of the report, three years after the transit of Venus took place. In 1876 he had been appointed to the Royal mint in Calcutta and thus had to move in the middle of finishing and publishing the report. In 1882 he retired and moved to England, where he took up several positions within the Royal Astrological Society and even was its president from 1890 to 1891.
With a small annotation in pencil on page 54 and a stamp on the title page of the library of the "Astronomisches Rechen Institut Berlin". The wrappers, slightly damaged at the spine, show slight signs of use. Very slight browning in the gutter margin of the preface leaf, not affecting the text and barely even affecting the margin. Otherwise in very good condition and without discolouration. WorldCat (1 copy).
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Asia  >  India & Sri Lanka
Science & technology  >  Astronomy & Mathematics