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Transit of Venus 1769

Transit of Venus 1769

On this day, 3rd June 1769, Lieutenant James Cook observed the transit of Venus across the sun, on the trip during which he would chart Australia’s eastern coast.

Cook left England on Aug. 12, 1768 and, after the momentous discovery of New South Wales, arrived at Otaheite [i.e. Tahiti] on April 13, 1769 in plenty of time to build an observatory to carefully measure the transit across the Sun’s sphere on June 3, an event which occurs only twice within 8 years once every 120 years.

The State Library of New South Wales holds a number of maps relating to this observatory including

A plan of King Georges Island or Otaheite lying in the South Sea, by Lieutenant I. Cook; discovr’d by Captn. Wallice the 19th June, 1767 [cartographic material] / James Cook.