Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Atmospheric ring of Venus

  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 PeteLawrence



  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,803
  • Joined: 07 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Selsey, UK

Posted 03 June 2020 - 04:47 AM

Been a while since posting on Cloudy Nights! 


Finally, after a lot of hard work, I've managed to flatten the uneven background in this shot. That was mostly caused by bright pollen drifting through the image. There was so much of it that it didn't average out and became visible when the image was stretched. This image shows the full 360 degree atmospheric ring. It also shows non-uniform brightening around the edge of the planet, most notable at the 2 o'clock position but also evident elsewhere. This is a real variation replicated in the few extended cusp images I've seen from this apparition. This image is the culmination of a fascination with this phenomenon. I first read about it in a book (which in later years I contributed to!) which showed a photo of the ring taken by James W Young in 1964. http://www.w7ftt.net/venus1.html


The ring in this image was taken on 2 June at 08:00 UT. At this time Venus presented a 57.8 arcsecond disc, a 0.1% phase and was 2.4 degrees from the Sun.  


I nearly caught the full ring back in 2004 before the Transit of Venus. However, due to technical reasons, that attempt didn't produce enough signal to complete the 360. Then in 2012 I did manage to grab a grainy shot of it from Svalbard. Setup was trick for this one as I was filming with Sky at Night and didn't have access to all the kit I wanted. It also meant kneeling on a gravel path which was very uncomfortable!


This one was far more comfortable but no less tricky. It was Tony Philips (Spaceweather) who described this shot as requiring the equivalent of a black-belt in astrophotography. He wasn't far off the mark either as it's pretty tough going at times and requires a fair degree of risk.

Is it possible to grab it on the morning reappearance? Yes, in theory it is. However, it's not something I would recommend or attempt myself. When Venus is off to the east of the Sun, if something happens with your telescope drive (power loss, stalling due to imbalance, etc.) the Sun will drift away from the field of view. If you attempt this in the morning sky, drive failure will result in the Sun drifting into the field of view. By the time you realise it's happening, it's too late!



Attached Thumbnails

  • 20200602_075933_Venus-Atmospheric-Ring.jpg

  • Special Ed, Sunspot, John_K and 38 others like this

#2 stevenrjanssens


    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 183
  • Joined: 24 May 2018
  • Loc: Vancouver, BC

Posted 03 June 2020 - 05:19 AM

Awesome, didn't know this phenomenon existed!

#3 Tapio



  • -----
  • Posts: 2,811
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2006
  • Loc: Tampere, Finland

Posted 03 June 2020 - 05:50 AM

Very cool.

#4 John Boudreau

John Boudreau

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,802
  • Joined: 06 Apr 2008
  • Loc: Boston Area, MA

Posted 03 June 2020 - 06:07 AM

Great work Pete! Wonderful image! bow.gif

#5 The_8_Bit_Zombie


    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 160
  • Joined: 29 Apr 2016
  • Loc: A pale blue dot

Posted 03 June 2020 - 06:10 AM

Incredible job! What did you use to block the Sun from the telescope's view?

#6 PeteLawrence



  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,803
  • Joined: 07 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Selsey, UK

Posted 03 June 2020 - 06:42 AM

Cardboard and gaffer tape mostly. Each time the telescope was uncapped, a check was made to see how far down the tube sunlight was progressing. I stopped at 14:49 UT with Venus 1.9 degrees from the Sun. The contrast of the planet against the bright sky was very low at that point and the pollen blizzard was pretty horrendous to be honest. 

  • The_8_Bit_Zombie likes this

#7 wargrafix



  • *****
  • Posts: 4,715
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2013
  • Loc: Trinidad

Posted 03 June 2020 - 07:04 AM

That is when you reach master level imaging. That's a whole level above top level.


Simply breathtaking.

#8 BQ Octantis

BQ Octantis


  • *****
  • Posts: 2,761
  • Joined: 29 Apr 2017
  • Loc: Red Centre, Oz

Posted 03 June 2020 - 07:18 AM

Well done, mate!


There's something about masters and gaffer tapeā€¦ laugh.gif





Edited by BQ Octantis, 03 June 2020 - 07:19 AM.

#9 rzep8


    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 513
  • Joined: 11 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Flemington, NJ

Posted 03 June 2020 - 09:01 AM

Amazing! I don't even what to think of the risk.. toasted camera doesn't sound very good.

#10 chrisrnuttall


    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 838
  • Joined: 29 Dec 2010
  • Loc: York, England

Posted 03 June 2020 - 01:28 PM



I watched your podcast on the BAA website in the lead up to the conjunction this week.

I had attempted a visual observation of the full ring in 2012 but the sky was much too bright that day, but with that experience and some tips picked up from you, I knew what to expect this time.

My thread 'Venus Crescent Phase' in the sketching forum details my efforts with my 300mm Newtonian this apparition, right up to inferior conjunction.

Anyway, thank you to you for the tip to look into the front of the telescope in order to check whether the sun light was reaching the focuser. I used this technique religiously every day (being careful not to get singed by the beam of reflected light pointing straight out of the front of the tube!) since Saturday to make sure I was safe to keep on observing.

I was able to follow Venus until 3pm yesterday when I eventually had to admit defeat to the increasing cloud cover.

And yes, the pollen storm was something to behold through the eyepiece!

I did not manage to see more than 80% of the full ring, so it is nice to see such a good image as yours instead.


Many thanks


Edited by chrisrnuttall, 03 June 2020 - 01:48 PM.

#11 DMach



  • -----
  • Posts: 1,298
  • Joined: 21 Nov 2017
  • Loc: The most light-polluted country in the world :(

Posted 05 June 2020 - 12:11 AM

Very, very cool indeed ... nice capture!

#12 ch-viladrich


    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 560
  • Joined: 14 Jul 2013
  • Loc: France

Posted 06 June 2020 - 11:40 AM

Excellent. Well done !

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Recent Topics

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: planet

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics