Transit of Venus : Home Journal 3

Transit of Venus

<p>This journal, kept by Captain George Lyon Tupman, records work related to the expeditions to observe the 1874 transit of Venus at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. It begins after the expedition parties have returned from their journeys. The majority of the work carried out by the staff involves reducing the observations as well as examining the work of other observers. Tupman does not shy away from sharing his opinion about the quality of the work carried out by some of the observers. For instance, he declares the work of the Kerguelen party to be a disgrace [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(57);return false;'>148</a>].</p> <p>Besides the computing and examination of observations, Tupman was also involved in attending to the correspondence which kept him preoccupied for the first couple of weeks after his return from the expedition. Through this correspondence we get a glimpse of the various institutions (both national and international) that were interested in the results of the Transit of Venus enterprise [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(8);return false;'>100</a>].</p> <p>Interest was not only communicated in writing, but was also declared in person. Several entries note Tupman being preoccupied by showing visitors from Germany around the Royal Observatory [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(19);return false;'>111</a>]. Besides the private visits, the journal also records the date of the Annual Visit taking place at the Observatory. Occasionally, however, as opposed to people visiting the observatory, it was Tupman who decided to venture out from the observatory grounds in order to attend the meetings of the Royal Astronomical Society [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(38);return false;'>129</a>]. There are also records about some of the observatory instruments used during the transit of Venus expeditions being lent to the South Kensington Museum [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(54);return false;'>145</a>]. In relation to this, Tupman expresses his worry about the safety of the instruments and raises the possible negative consequences on the state of the instruments if they were to be damaged by the public that knows little about the exhibited items.</p> <p>Other practical tasks are also highlighted in the journal. Many of the entries note returning the instruments to their proper owners. Some of the instruments were returned by the astronomers themselves, while others were returned after being inspected at the workshop of the instrument makers Troughton & Simms [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(13);return false;'>105</a>].</p> <p>Both the amount of work surrounding the reductions of observations, and the output of the laborious tasks had to be organised. As a result, there are frequent mentions of Tupman redistributing tasks, arranging the manuscripts and cleaning the rooms where they were kept. In relation to the staff members, the journal highlights how various observers and assistants either resigned or were released from their positions, thus demonstrating the gradual decrease in the workforce devoted to the enterprise [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(36);return false;'>127</a>].</p> <p>Daniel Belteki<br /> University of Kent</p>

Want to know more?

Under the 'More' menu you can find , any transcription and translation we have of the text and find out about downloading or sharing this image.

No Contents List Available
No Metadata Available


If you want to share this page with others you can send them a link to this individual page:
Alternatively please share this page on social media

You can also embed the viewer into your own website or blog using the code below: