The Day the World Discovered the Sun by Mark Anderson
An Extraordinary Story of Scientific Adventure and the Race to Track the Transit of Venus

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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.


About Mark Anderson

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Mark Anderson is the author of “Shakespeare” By Another Name and has covered science, history, and technology for many media outlets, including Discover and National Public Radio. He holds a BA in physics, an MS in astrophysics, and lives in western Massachusetts.
Published May 8, 2012 by Da Capo Press. 304 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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The achievement was commemorated by “the Apollo 15 mission…command module [which] was named Endeavour”—after Captain Cook's ship—and carried “a block of wood from the sternpost of [his] original HMS Endeavour.” In 1769, the ship carried England's crew and succeeded in its mission, despite sufferi...

Mar 31 2012 | Read Full Review of The Day the World Discovered ...

Publishers Weekly

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In this exciting tale—part detective story, part history of science—Anderson (“Shakespeare” by Another Name) vividly recreates the torturous explorations and enthralling discovery of three peripatetic and insatiably curious explorers.

Mar 19 2012 | Read Full Review of The Day the World Discovered ...

Portland Book Review

By the first half of the 18th century, astronomers realized that by observing the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun, they would be able to use simple trigonometry to create extremely accurate maps and charts.

Jun 14 2012 | Read Full Review of The Day the World Discovered ...

The Roanoke Times

And, finally, in the best known of these journeys, Lieutenant James Cook, captain of His Majesty’s bark, the Endeavor, sailed around Cape Horn to Tahiti, where he and his staff make similar observations of Venus’ passage.

Apr 14 2012 | Read Full Review of The Day the World Discovered ...

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