The Nehru Planetarium is hosting a special month-long exhibition “Voyages of Discovery: European Astronomers in India and the Indian response from the beginnings of telescope usage to the 19th Century transits of Venus” at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library beginning June 6.

The exhibition with images and content has a correlation with the “Transit of Venus” events from India.

“The contents of the exhibition have an intimate connection with historical observations of Transits of Venus from India in the 17, 18 and 19 Centuries. One very exciting new input in the exhibition comes from possible observations of the 1631 Transit of Venus event from India and its discussions in an astronomy text book titled Siddanta Tattva Viveka written by Kamalakara of Varanasi in which he discusses the possibilities of transits of Venus and Mercury,” says Planetarium Director N. Rathnasree, who earlier in the day will conduct activities surrounding the astronomical event.

The exhibition also speculates about a possible connection between the famous Peacock throne of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and the transit of Venus of the year 1631.

Pointing out that there is a reference in the Padshahnama, a biography of Shah Jahan written by Abdul Hamid Lahori, to the Sun and Venus, Planetarium Director says this is very intriguing. “This comes in the context of the famous Peacock Throne made under orders of Shah Jahan. The Padshahnama, completed around 1636, talks of jewels collected by Shah Jahan and says: ‘In the course of years many valuable gems had come into the imperial jewel-house, each one of which might serve as an ear drop for Venus or as an adornment for the girdle of the Sun'.”

The Nehru Planetarium in hosting the exhibition in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. It will be inaugurated at the NMML at 10-30 a.m. following the celestial event. A panel discussion on the history of astronomy in India is also on the cards.

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