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featured amateur image of VenusThe seductive luminosity of Venus has captivated both artists and astronomers throughout our history. Many cultures incorporated Venus into their mythology, and Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli's work "Birth of Venus" expressively evokes the planet's impact on the collective human subconscious.

Amateur astronomers and ground-based observations have contributed very useful information for studies of Venus' atmosphere: Mikhail Lomonosov first suggested the existence of atmosphere on Venus in 1761, Boyer and Guerin first determined the rapid, 4-day circulation of the Venus atmosphere, and most recently, Christophe Pellier succeeded in imaging the night side of Venus (emissions from the hot surface) using a 1 micron infrared filter with a 30 cm telescope. Now, amateurs equipped with CCD cameras and filters can still contribute to the study of Venus. Continued UV and polarized light images of Venus are still likely to prove useful for monitoring the Venus atmosphere and its circulation.

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Last Update: September 28, 2010