Belt of Venus Over Reelfoot Lake

December 31, 2004

Belt_of_venus-reelfoot_lake copy

Provided by: James Baker
Summary authors & editors: James Baker

The photo above shows the Belt of Venus clinging to the eastern horizon over Reelfoot Lake in northwestern Tennessee, on November 6, 2004. I and several other members of the Chickasaw Group of the Sierra Club, plus members of the Tennessee Clean Water Network, conducted a day-long study of Reelfoot Lake. As I was photographing the lake after sunset, I noticed this particularly good display of the Belt of Venus. We watched the belt and shadow climb swiftly into the evening sky. Within the Belt of Venus, the atmosphere reflects light from the Sun, which is still just below the horizon. Because of the Sun's position near the horizon, the scattered sunlight is reddened, giving a somewhat pinkish cast to the part of the sky just above the horizon and opposite the Sun. The dark band below the pink is the Earth's rising shadow. While the Belt of Venus can be seen every cloudless morning or evening, this one was particularly noticeable since a good horizon was visible and because there may have been more scatters (suspended dust and other aerosols) in the late-day atmosphere.

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