Jeremiah Horrocks – A Very Curious Astronomer – by Mike Frost

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Jeremiah Horrocks


On Sunday 24th November, 1639, Jeremiah Horrocks observed a Transit of the planet Venus across the face of the Sun, from Much Hoole, a village south of Preston, Lancashire, England. Horrocks and his friend William Crabtree, observing from Salford, Lancashire, were the only people to see the first ever observed Transit of Venus. Horrocks had successfully predicted an event that nobody else knew was going to happen. To see the Transit, Horrocks had to overcome the vagaries of Lancastrian weather; whilst giving due to attention to “greater things, which it was certainly not proper to neglect for these subordinate pursuits”, at St Michael’s church, Much Hoole.


I have a few things in common with Jeremiah Horrocks. We’re both astronomers; we both grew up in Lancashire; we both have (had) relatives in Rhode Island, America. We both attended Emmanuel College in Cambridge (as did a surprising number of other historical characters, some of whom knew Jeremiah). This lecture is a guided tour through Jeremiah Horrocks’s brief, extraordinary life.


Next talk Jeremiah Horrocks, Samuel Foster, Nathaniel Nye - A Detective Story


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