phases of Venus
Fr.: phases de Vénus
The gradual variation of the apparent shape of → Venus between a small, full → disk and a larger → crescent. The first telescopic observation of the phases of Venus by Galileo (1610) proved the → Ptolemaic system could not be correct. The reason is that with the → geocentric system the phases of Venus would be impossible. More specifically, in that model Venus lies always between Earth and Sun. Hence its fully bright surface would always be toward the Sun; so Venus could not be seen in full phase from Earth. Only slim crescents would be possible. On the other hand, this phenomenon could not prove the → heliocentric system, because it could equally be explained with the → Tychonic model.