The Belt of Venus

Seems I ran into winter blues in the middle of July, strange thing. And yet, not really – for me. Choosing between -20C and +30C is a no-brainer 🙂 I love the crisp air, the white snow and of course Northern lights in clear nights.

The photo below was taken in Lapland just before sunrise last February. There might be a few things it you may have stared at but never heard of. The pink band on the horizon is called the ‘Belt of Venus’. Its “rosy pinkish arch is visible long after sunset or long before sunrise by backscattering or refracted sunlight due to fine dust particles high up in the atmosphere” (1). The color is a mix of “backscattered sunlight reddened by the atmosphere and the deep blue of the anti-sunward sky”(2).

Below the Belt of Venus is a dark bluish band called ‘Earth’s Shadow’. The name here is rather self-explanatory as it stands  “for the shadow that the Earth itself casts on its atmosphere. This shadow is often visible from the surface of the Earth, as a dark band in the sky near the horizon”(3).

Next time you are out around sunset / sunrise time, check out the sky opposite from the sun. You may see familiar phenomena in the lower sky 🙂

Copyright: Thomas Kast

(1) wikipedia
(3) wikipedia


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