On 24 November 1639 in the tiny Lancashire village of Much Hoole, Jeremiah Horrocks made the first observations of a transit of Venus. In the following century the great expeditions to observe the transits of Venus gave us the most colourful stories in astronomy. IAU C196 coincided with the 8 June 2004 transit of Venus, producing the exciting, eclectic mix that can be found in these proceedings: the amazing history of the English North-country astronomers of the seventeenth century; the AU at a precision of 1.4 m; the explanation for the infamous black drop effect; a possible Mayan observation of a transit of Venus in the thirteenth century; the vexed question of leap seconds and time scales; history, distances, parallaxes, the solar system at exquisite precision and future space missions that will revolutionise astronomy.
• Proceedings of IAU meeting in June 2004 • Covers history of astronomy as well as latest developments in the field • Of interest to researchers in history of science, astronomy and astrophysics
Part I. Transits of Venus: History, Results and Legacy: Part II. The AU and the PC; Part III. Transits, the Solar System and Extra-Solar Planets; Part IV. The Jeremiah Horrocks Memorial Public Lecture; Part V. New Views of the Galaxy: Parallaxes, Distances and Implications for Astrophysics; Part VI. New Views of the Galaxy: Future Space and Ground-Based Programmes; Part VII. Summary.