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The Urban Astronomer

Seeing Earth's Shadow and the Belt of Venus

23 Mar 2013, 18:42 UTC
Seeing Earth's Shadow and the Belt of Venus
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Earth's Shadow and the Belt of VenusWhile waiting for the sky to darken, especially when I am at a star party, I like to point out the many subtle changes in the night sky that unfold from the moment of sunset to the end of dusk. One of my favorites is the phenomenon known as the Belt of Venus, a beautiful pink and blue band that stretches along the horizon exactly opposite the point of sunset or sunrise.Most of the time I see this phenomenon in the evening, since that is when I am most often focused on the sky while it transitions from light to dark and the star gazing begins. Of course, the reverse effect is plainly visible in the morning just before sunrise, and all of the elements of the effect move in reverse. Recently I had an unusual experience with the morning version of this phenomenon, and it was accented by the Moon.In January, while driving to work early in the morning, I was particularly captivated by the setting Full Moon. The previous night was the exact time of the Full Moon, so as I left home shortly before sunrise, the bright Moon was just setting ...

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