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Photographic glass plate and metal ring for use with photoheliograph and Janssen's apparatus, 1874
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Object statement
Janssen photographic plate and metal ring in storage box, for use with photoheliograph and Janssen's apparatus, glass / metal / wood, maker unknown, used by Sydney Observatory, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1874
This unexposed Janssen photographic plate is the only one which has survived from the New South Wales project to photograph the 1874 Transit of Venus. These circular plates were used in conjunction with Janssen's photoheliograph apparatus (H10213), which was attached to the transit telescope (H10211). It was hoped that photographs taken of Venus as it travelled over the surface of the sun would lead to a more precise measurement of the distance of the Earth from the Sun.

The Janssen apparatus that was used to take took these circular photographs was the same as those sent to five other observatories around the world. These were part of the British Royal Observatory Transit of Venus program and were situated at; Honolulu; Mokkatam; Rodriguez; Kereguelen and Burnham. The photographic apparatus was made by J. H. Dallmeyer based on a unique design by Janssen and de la Rue and took 6.5 inch circular photographic plates.

For the observation of the Transit of Venus the telescope (H10211) and apparatus (H10213) were set up at Woodford in the Blue Mountains at the residence of A. Fairfax. There were seven observers present for the occasion: P. F. Adams Surveyor-General; Hirst a well known amateur astronomer; Mr. Vessy of the Trigonomical Survey; Mr. Du Faur of the Survey Department; Mr. Bischoff the photographer and two unnamed carpenters.

Unfortunately of the 14 Janssen plates taken at Woodford none have survived. Twelve of the resulting Jansen photographs (60 on each plate), and 36 normal plates were sent to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and have since been lost. The whereabouts of the other two is not known although they may have found their way into the New South Wales Government Printing Office. Only this unexposed Janssen plate has survived the others having been broken sometime between the early 1980s and 2007.

One reason the plates which were sent to England were not well cared for is that, like the other photographs sent in from observatories around the world, the plates proved to be less than successful. The reasons for this were described by George Airy, Astronomer Royal at the Greenwich Observatory, in 1881, "After laborious measures and calculation it was thought best to abstain from publishing the results of the photographic measures as comparable with those deduced from telescopic view. The consideration which led to this decision are that, however well the Sun's limb on the photograph appeared to the naked eye to be defined, yet on applying to it a microscope it became indistinct and untraceable"

However while the photographs proved less than successful the observations themselves played an important part in the official report made by Captain Tupman to the British Government. Of the 61 reliable reports of Venus crossing the sun which were recorded at points around the entire British Empire, 22 were from Australia.

References
Todd, David, P., Stars and Telescopes, Sampson Low, Marston, and Co., 1900
De-Clerq, P.R., Nineteenth Century Instruments and their Makers; Rodopi, Amsterdam, 1985
Airy, G. B, Account of the Observation of the Transit of Venus, 1874, December 8, Made Under the Authority of the British Government and of the reduction of the Observations, Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1881
Russell, H., C., "Report of Astronomer for 1874 & 1875', New South Wales Government Printer, 1876
Knight, E., H., (ed), 'Knights American Mechanical Dictionary', Vol III, J.B. Ford and Company, New York, 1874

Geoff Barker, August, 2007
This unexposed Janssen photographic plate is the only one which has survived from the Sydney Observatory, Sydney, New South Wales project to photograph the 1874 Transit of Venus.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Janssen photographic plate and metal ring in storage box, for use with photoheliograph and Janssen's apparatus, glass / metal / wood, maker unknown, used by Sydney Observatory, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1874

A Janssen photographic plate. The circular glass plate is contained within a wooden storage box with a hinged lid. Accompanying the glass plate is a flat metal ring. Slots have been carved inside the box to enable the vertical storage of plates.
Made: 1874


Used: Sydney Observatory; Woodford, New South Wales; 1874

Owned: Sydney Observatory;
H10379
Production date
1874
Height
300 mm
Width
340 mm
Depth
310 mm
Diameter
280 mm

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
This object belongs to:
Sydney Observatory Collection
Subjects
+ Photography
+ Transit of Venus
+ Astronomical equipment
+ Scientific equipment
+ Sydney Observatory
+ Australian culture
+ Astronomy
+ Russell, Henry Chamberlain
+ Astronomical telescopes
Currently on public display
+ By the Light of the Southern Stars Exhibition, Sydney Observatory
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/232618
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{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/232618 |title=Photographic glass plate and metal ring for use with photoheliograph and Janssen's apparatus |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=20 April 2014 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


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Object viewed 6012 times. Parent IRN: 2143. Master IRN: 2143 Img: 219171 Flv: H:2772px W:3789px SMO:0 RIGHTS:.