Belt of Venus with Saguaro Cactus


Sometimes, just a few minutes before sunrise or a few minutes after sunset, you can actually see the shadow of the earth projected on the atmosphere! Look for a dark band just above the horizon, and just above that, a pink band from scattered sunlight coming horizontally through the atmosphere. Higher still, the blue sky is in full sunlight. The pink band is known as the Belt of Venus, presumably because the planet Venus also spends a lot of time in this region of the sky, never far above the horizon. The belt is also called the antitwilight arch because it appears directly opposite the twilight horizon that conceals the sun. Ironically, since Venus always stays near the sun, it can never actually appear in the Belt of Venus!

Date: March 17, 2006
Time: 6:45 p.m. MST
Location: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona
Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR on fixed tripod
Film: Fuji Provia 100 slide
Focal length: 100 mm
Aperture: f/16-22
Exposure time: 1/2 second
Scanner: Nikon Coolscan LS-2000

Revised: April 19, 2006
Copyright © 2006 Joe Orman
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