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Further information:Venus is our rather weird neighbour, a strange world where the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east, and a day lasts longer than a year. And yet this searingly-hot planet began its life with much the same materials as Earth. So why is Venus so different? We begin our close encounter with Venus at the Observatoire de Paris, an institution founded in 1667 which has seen all manner of new ways to study the solar system – including a raft of devices to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun. Thomas Widemann, Planetary Scientist, Observatoire de Paris showed us one of them, a precursor to the early film cameras: “This is a unique example of Janssen’s Revolver – this instrument was designed at the Observatory of Paris to observe the transit of Venus in 1874 and 1882.” Today the Observatoire de Paris remains at the cutting edge of planetary science. There Widemann spends his time there trying to solve the puzzle of the planet Venus.
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