Dom Pedro II Observatory, Saint Thomas Island, Danish Possession in the Antilles: Pavilion of the Equatorial Telescope of the First Lieutenant Índio do Brasil. Main Central Pavillion of the Meridian Circle Telescope and Large Equatorial Telescope of the Barão de Teffé. Pavillion of the Equatorial Telescope of the Lieutenant Commander Calheiros da Graça. View from the Southeast, from the Hillside


This photograph is contained in an album that commemorates the participation of Brazil in the international effort to track the transit of Venus in 1882. This involved the establishment by the Imperial Observatory of an observatory, named after Emperor Dom Pedro II (1825-91), on the island of Saint Thomas in the Danish West Indies (present-day U.S. Virgin Islands). The transit of Venus is a rare astronomical event that occurs when Venus passes between the Earth and the sun, becoming visible in daylight against the solar disk. The transits occur in eight-year pairs at intervals of more than a century. Since the 17th century, astronomers had been especially interested in these transits, as they offered the chance, using multiple observations and complex mathematical calculations, to determine the distance between the Earth and the sun (the Astronomical Unit). There thus was great scientific as well as public interest in the transits of 1874 and 1882. The album is part of the Thereza Christina Maria Collection at the National Library of Brazil. Composed of 21,742 photos assembled by Emperor Pedro II throughout his life and donated by him to the national library, the collection covers a wide variety of subjects and documents the achievements of Brazil and Brazilians in the 19th century. The collection, named after Empress Thereza Christina Maria, was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2003.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Virgin Islands


Title in Original Language

Observatorio D. Pedro II, Ilha de S. Thomaz, possessao dinamarqueza nas Antilhas: pavilhao da equatorial do 1. tenente Índio do Brasil. Pavilhao central da luneta meridiana e grande equatorial do Barão de Teffé. Pavilhao da equatorial do capitao-tenente Calheiros da Graça. Vista tomada do Sueste, no declive da montanha

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photograph contained in an album : black and white ; 18.8 x 25.1 centimeters

Last updated: July 1, 2014