Venus Corona

October 18, 2015


Photographer: Geir T. B. Øye 
Summary Authors: Geir T. B. Øye; Jim Foster

Coronas are typically observed around the Sun and Moon, but on occasion they can be seen around the brightest planets as well. The photo above shows such a corona surrounding Venus as viewed from Ørsta, Norway. Of course, this corona has nothing to do with Venus' dense atmosphere; rather it results from thin mid-level clouds in our own atmosphere (troposphere) drifting in front of Venus. Our sister planet is the third brightest celestial light source and is thus capable of creating a corona when its reflected sunlight is diffracted by the minute cloud droplets that compose altocumulus and altostratus clouds. Note the distinct whitish aureole at the center of the corona. Photo taken on May 3, 2015, just before Venus dipped behind the still snow-covered mountainside.

Photo Details: Canon EOS 650D camera; Sigma 50 mm- 500 mm lens; tripod used; ISO 800; 2.4 second exposure.