Lomonosov was the first person to hypothesize the existence of an atmosphere on Venus based on his observation of the transit of Venus of 1761 in a small observatory near his house in Petersburg.[12][17]

In June 2012 a group of astronomers carried out experimental reconstruction of Lomonosov's discovery of Venusian atmosphere with antique refractors during the transit of Venus ( 5–6 June 2012).[18] They concluded 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 if proper experimental techniques as described by Lomonosov in his 1761 paper[19] are employed.[20]

Diagrams from Mikhail Lomonosov's "The Appearance of Venus on the Sun, Observed at the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences on 26 May 1761"

In 1762, Lomonosov presented an improved design of a reflecting telescope to the Russian Academy of Sciences forum. His telescope had its primary mirror adjusted at an angle of four degrees to the telescope's axis. This made the image focus at the side of the telescope tube, where the observer could view the image with an eyepiece without blocking the image. However, this invention was not published until 1827, so this type of telescope has become associated with a similar design by William Herschel, the Herschelian telescope.[21]