Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2005 August 9

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

The Belt of Venus over Elwood Beach
Credit & Copyright: Russell Cockman

Explanation: Although you've surely seen it, you might not have noticed it. During a cloudless twilight, just before sunrise or after sunset, part of the atmosphere above the horizon appears slightly off-color, slightly pink. Called the Belt of Venus, this off-color band between the dark eclipsed sky and the blue sky can be seen in nearly every direction including that opposite the Sun. Straight above, blue sky is normal sunlight reflecting off the atmosphere. In the Belt of Venus, however, the atmosphere reflects light from the setting (or rising) Sun which appears more red. The Belt of Venus can be seen from any location with a clear horizon. Pictured above, the Belt of Venus was photographed behind Elwood Beach in Melbourne, Australia. The belt is frequently caught by accident in other photographs.

Tomorrow's picture: heart and soul

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: EUD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.