This image of the planet Venus was taken on April 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm with the Public Observatory's 16" Boller & Chivens telescope. The view is similar to what visitors to the observatory saw through the telescope during public hours that day and the next day.
Because Venus orbits closer to the Sun than the Earth, it has phases, like the Moon. When it starts to cross between the Earth and the Sun, we see less and less of the lit, daytime side of Venus, and more of the dark nighttime side. Venus is slightly less than half full now, and it is waning. It will become a slimmer crescent over the next two months, but also a taller crescent because it will be drawing closer to the Earth.
On June 5, 2012 at 6:09 pm EST, Venus will start to transit across the face of the Sun, a four-hour long event which will not be seen again until 2117 AD. Until sunset, the Observatory will set up solar telescopes on the National Mall so that visitors can safely look at the Sun and watch the dot of Venus moving across the face of the Sun.
Telescope: Boller & Chivens 16" Cassegrain telescope.
Camera: Lumenera SkyNyx 2-2M.