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June 2012

In 1870, Henry Chamberlain Russell became Government Astronomer for New South Wales and immediately began to prepare for detailed observations of the transit of Venus due to occur in 1874. Several sites were chosen for their weather conditions, and professional and amateur astronomers were sent to Goulburn, Eden, Woodford and the main observatory in Sydney. The observers included Professor Archibald Liversidge of the University, P. F. Adams, Surveyor-General, and Eccleston du Faur of the Survey Department, amongst others. Other observations were taken at Armidale and Raymond Terrace. The results of the observations were published by the Government Printer in 1892.

Sydney University Press has republished a facsimile of the book, including the 40 colour plates that include observations of the Transit from various locations, and photographs of the equipment used.

Transit of Venus 1874, by HC Russell

Following is an extract from the Introduction by Henry Russell.