Chasing Venus as it makes its way across the face of the Sun has been an obsession of astronomers for nearly four centuries - and some have gone to extraordinary lengths to witness it. However, the transit appears to have a curse attached to it that has struck some of the most prominent stargazers as they raced around the world trying to find the best place to view the phenomenon. There are numerous cautionary tales attached to the transit to bear in mind before you consider whether to crane your neck to the skies on June 8. Cambridge-educated astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks (pictured, right), from Toxteth, Liverpool, was the first scientist to correctly predict a Venus transit. When he was just 22 he calculated the 1639 event to within 15 minutes. He died two years later when he was on his way to a meeting with one of the few to have witnessed the 1639 transit. French astronomer Guillaume Le Gentil de la Galaisiere travelled to the Indian colony of Pondicherry to watch the transit in 1761 and did not make it home until 10 years later. On his way there, the British captured the colony and he was forced to sail back to the French island of Mauritius, by which time he had missed the transit. He stayed there studying Indian Ocean cultures, planning to watch the 1769 transit from Manila. But shortly beforehand, he was ordered back to Pondicherry, and missed it again as the colony was shrouded in rain. Jean Chappe d'Auteroche had more success when he led a party to Mexico, where they watched the transit in perfect conditions. A few days later, an epidemic struck, killing everyone in the expedition except the Frenchman and his engineer. Hungarian astronomer Maximilian Hell (pictured, left) travelled to the Arctic Circle in 1768 and recorded the fullest observations in his day of the transit. When he submitted his reports to his sponsors in Denmark, he was wrongly accused of fabricating his report and denounced as a fraud. He died with his reputation in tatters.