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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Chenakal, V.L. and Sharonov, V.V., Commentaries to article #9, in Polnoe sobranie sochinenii M.V. Lomonosova (Complete Works of M.V. Lomonosov), Vavilov, S. and Kravets, T., Eds., Moscow-Leningrad: Akad. Nauk SSSR, 1955, vol. 4, pp. 767–773.
García Muñoz, A. and Mills, F.P., The June 2012 transit of Venus. Framework for interpretation of observations, Astron. Astrophys., 2012, vol. 547, p. A22.
Koukarine, A., Nesterenko, I., Petrunin, Yu., and Shiltsev, V., Experimental reconstruction of Lomonosov’s discovery of Venus’s atmosphere with antique refractors during the 2012 transit of Venus. http://arxiv.org/abs/1208.5286
Lomonosov, M.V., Yavlenie Venery na Solntse, nablyudennoe v Sankt-peterburgskoi Imperatorskoi Akademii nauk maiya 26 dnya 1761 goda (The Appearance of Venus on the Sun, Observed at the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences on May 26, 1761), St. Petersburg: Tip. Akad. Nauk, 1761.
Lomonosow, M.V., Erscheinung der Venus vor der Sonne beobachtet bey der Kayserlichen Academie der Wissenschafften in St. Petersburg, den 26 May 1761, St. Petersburg: Tip. Akad. Nauk, 1761.
Marov, M.Ya., Mikhail Lomonosov and the discovery of the atmosphere of Venus during the 1761 transit, Proc. IAU Colloq. Transits of Venus: New Views of the Solar System and Galaxy, Kurtz, D.W., Ed., Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004, vol. 196, pp. 209–219.
Pasachoff, J.M. and Sheehan, W., Lomonosov, the discovery of Venus’s atmosphere, and eighteenth century transits of Venus, J. Astron. History Heritage, 2012, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 3–14.
Rosenfeld, R., et al., The Venus aureole effect: minimum aperture for visual detection, J. Roy. Astron. Soc. Canada, 2013, vol. 107, no. 1, pp. 29–34.
Schaefer, B.E., The transit of Venus and the notorious black drop effect, J. History Astron., 2001, vol. 32, pp. 325–336.
Sharonov, V.V., Determination of the horizontal diffraction in the atmosphere of Venus from the observations of Lomonosov’s phenomenon, Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR, 1952, vol. 82, no. 3, pp. 351–353.
Sharonov, V.V., On priority of M.V. Lomonosov in the discovery of the atmosphere of Venus, Nauch. Byull. Leningrad. Ord. Lenina Gos. Univ. im. A.A. Zhdanova, 1955, vol. 13, pp. 12–15.
Shiltsev, V., Lomonosov’s Discovery of Venus Atmosphere: English Translation of the Original Publication and Commentaries, 2012. http://arxiv.org/abs/1206.3489
Shiltsev, V., Nesterenko, I., and Rosenfeld, R., Replicating the discovery of Venus’s atmosphere, Phys. Today, 2013, vol. 66, no. 2, pp. 64–65.
Original Russian Text © A. Koukarine, I. Nesterenko, Yu. Petrunin, V. Shiltsev, 2013, published in Astronomicheskii Vestnik, 2013, Vol. 47, No. 6, pp. 528–532.
About this article
Cite this article
Koukarine, A., Nesterenko, I., Petrunin, Y. et al. Experimental reconstruction of Lomonosov’s discovery of Venus’s atmosphere with antique refractors during the 2012 transit of Venus. Sol Syst Res 47, 487–490 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1134/S0038094613060038
- Solar Disk
- Solar System Research
- Solar Limb
- Experimental Reconstruction
- Pulkovo Observatory