Solar System Research

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 487-490

First online:

Experimental reconstruction of Lomonosov’s discovery of Venus’s atmosphere with antique refractors during the 2012 transit of Venus

  • A. KoukarineAffiliated with
  • , I. NesterenkoAffiliated withBudker Institute of Nuclear Physics
  • , Yu. PetruninAffiliated withTelescope Engineering Company, Inc.
  • , V. ShiltsevAffiliated withFermilab

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In 1761, the Russian polymath Mikhail Vasilievich Lomonosov (1711–1765) discovered the atmosphere of Venus during its transit over the Sun’s disc. In this paper we report on experimental reenactments of Lomonosov’s discovery with antique refractors during the transit of Venus June 5–6, 2012. We conclude that Lomonosov’s telescope was fully adequate to the task of detecting the arc of light around Venus off the Sun’s disc during ingress or egress provided proper experimental techniques as described by Lomonosov in his 1761 report are employed.