Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Belt of Venus at Mentor Headlands

No, the Belt of Venus is not a fashion accessory. It’s an atmospheric phenomenon that you’ve probably seen but never gave it much thought. The Belt of Venus can make its appearance right before sunrise or right after sunset, and usually is best seen when the viewer has a good view of the sky down to the horizon. Slightly above the horizon, the sky develops a dusty pink-colored layer, with a dark bluish layer between the pink layer and the horizon. The bluish layer at the horizon is the earth’s shadow,  which is appearing as the sun sets. 

When my husband and I were watching for Comet Pan-Starrs at Mentor Headlands State Park last week, I took many photos of the sunset while we waited. I also turned my back to the sunset and photographed the Fairport Harbor West lighthouse at Headlands, which was positioned directly opposite the sunset. The Belt of Venus was clearly visible. Here are a few photos – if you think you’ve never seen this phenomenon before, maybe these photos will jog your memory or help you to spot it in the future. (Click on any image for a larger view.)


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