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INSTITUT DE FRANCE, Académie des Sciences.

Recueil de mémoires, rapports et documents relatifs à l'observation du passage de Vénus sur le Soleil.

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Firmin-Didot puis Gauthier-Villard, Paris, 1876

Scarce first edition of one of the first publications on astronomical photography. A fine, fresh example of extensive observations made for the 1874 transit of Venus over the Sun.

The passage of Venus between the sun and the Earth is the rarest predictable astronomical phenomenon, and it occurs twice every 113 years with an eight-year interval between the two instances. From its first predicted incidence in 1631 through to its most recent in 2012, this particular kind of solar eclipse has been historically a crucial means by which to measure the universe. More specifically, in the XVIII and XIX centuries, the phenomenon was closely monitored in order to determine as accurately as possible the size of the solar system through the measurement of the solar parallax and the distance between the Earth and the sun.

The solar eclipse of 1874, detailed in these seven volumes, was only visible from the Pacific and

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First edition. 7 vol. 4to (29 x 24 cm). Half titles, additional titles, with volumes I-IV and VII comprising 70 lithograph plates (including 7 large folding maps), numerous by Ciceri, several plates coloured, and 22 photographs (on 10 plates), with volume VI comprising 68 illustrative plates and one map, some wood engravings in text; traces of hand-writing offset to first title and some half-title, a tear to one large map, very occasional light spotting. Contemporary calf over marbled boards, spines in six compartments, raised bands, green and red morocco lettering pieces lettered in gilt; lightly rubbed.


Houzeau and Lancaster, 12291; cf. Canales, Jimena. Photogenic Venus: The 'cinematographic turn' and its alternatives in nineteenth-century France. Isis. The University of Chicago Press. Dec 2002. pp. 585-613.

Stock ID:90318

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