The Day the World Discovered the Sun: An Extraordinary Story of Scientific Adventure and the Race to Track the Transit of Venus
On June 3, 1769, the planet Venus briefly passed across the face of the sun in a cosmic alignment that occurs twice per century. Anticipation of the rare celestial event sparked a worldwide competition among aspiring global superpowers, each sending their own scientific expeditions to far-flung destinations to time the planet’s trek. These pioneers used the "Venus Transit" to discover the physical dimensions of the solar system and refine the methods of discovering longitude at sea.
In this fast-paced narrative, Mark Anderson reveals the stories of three Venus Transit voyages – to the heart of the Arctic, the New World, and the Pacific – that risked every mortal peril of a candlelit age. With time running out, each expedition struggles to reach its destination – a quest that races to an unforgettable climax on a momentous summer day when the universe suddenly became much larger than anyone had dared to imagine.
The Day the World Discovered the Sun tells an epic story of the enduring human desire to understand our place in the universe.
Featured On Episode #218
This week we’re looking at science history, with two books about the passion and perseverance that drive the pursuit of scientific discovery. We’re joined by science writer Mark Anderson, to talk about his book The Day the World Discovered the Sun: An Extraordinary Story of Scientific Adventure and the Race to Track the Transit of Venus. And science writer Jessica Wapner returns to discuss her new book The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level.