A cartoon to mark the transit of Mercury across the sun

For all those people who have been asking whether there is an appropriate George Woodward sketch to mark the transit of Mercury: Yes, indeed there is:

Astronomer.jpg

The cartoon (ref: D5459/1/93/24) shows the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande (1732-1807) telling Napoleon Buonaparte that he has discovered an island in the moon.  Napoleon’s response – that he has already despatched a king to take possession of it – refers to the latter’s policy of turning family members into kings.

The celestial whatnot will begin not long after midday today.  Looking up at the sun won’t work – and obviously you are too smart for that anyway – but if you are reading this before it happens, you  can follow a broadcast of the event by clicking the Play button below.  Or you can find out more about the whole shooting-match courtesy of the NASA website.

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