In astronomy, transit instruments are used for the precise observation of star positions. The instruments can be divided into three groups:
for observation of star transits in the exact direction of South or North:
- Meridian circles, Mural quadrants etc.
- Passage instruments (transportable, also for prime vertical transits)
which allow transit measurements in any direction
- Theodolite (Describing a theodolite as a transit may refer to the ability to turn the telescope a full rotation on the horizontal axis, which provides a convenient way to reverse the direction of view, or to sight the same object with the yoke in opposite directions, which causes some instrumental errors to cancel.) (Wolf and Brinker 183–6)
- Altaz telescopes with graduated eyepieces (also for satellite transits)
Zenith instruments and Astrolabes
- Zenith telescope
- Photozenith tube (PZT)
- zenith cameras
- Danjon astrolabe, Zeiss Ni2 astrolabe, Circumzenital
Observation techniques and accuracy
Depending on the type of instrument, the measurements are carried out
- visually and manual time registration (stopwatch, Auge-Ohr-Methode, chronograph)
- visually by impersonal micrometer (moving thread with automatic registration)
- photographic registration
- CCD or other electro optic sensors.
The accuracy reaches from 0.2" (theodolites, small astrolabes) to 0.01" (modern meridian circles, Danjon). Early instruments (like the mural quadrants of Tycho Brahe) had no telescope and were limited to about 0.01°.
- Astronomical transit
- Positional astronomy, astro-geodesy
- latitude/longitude observation, vertical deflection
- Wolf, Paul R and Russell C. Brinker. Elementary Surveying, 8th ed. New York: Harper Collins, 1989.
- Karl Ramsayer: Geodätische Astronomie, Vol.2a of Handbuch der Vermessungskunde, 900 p., J.B.Metzler, Stuttgart 1969
- Cauvenet and Brünnow's Handbooks of Spherical Geodesy
- Transit instrument in the Encyclopedia.com
- Transit circle technique (Classic Encyclopedia)
- Great Transit at Lick Observatory, +Photo
- Modern roboter telescopes
- The Carlsberg Automatic Meridian Circle
- Photo of a 19th-century transit instrument (Jones 1826)
- Transit instruments udes by the Survey of India, 1867)