Sunday, August 30, 2015

Book Review: Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens

Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the HeavensChasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens by Andrea Wulf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was very excited to read this science book, but it was very dry. It was hard to listen to because there were so many names, dates, and places. It would have been nice to have a calendar and a map along with the book. It was a very thorough and detailed account of the 1761 and 1769 transits of Venus. The history was more detailed than a webpage I stumbled across earlier this year, but not much more entertaining. The importance of the transits was explained, and you felt heartbroken for the astronomers when bad weather or broken equipment got in the way. It was awesome to see and hear about the cooperation that existed between astronomers at the time, even if they weren't totally trusting of one another or withheld data from one another in the end. The book also made me appreciate that I was able to see on of the two transits, 2012, that occurred in my lifetime since there is such a long gap between them, but unfortunately I think there were too many details for me to consider teaching from it or to read it again.

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