Belt of Venus Viewed from Sicily, Italy

January 04, 2022

2021 10 The belt of Venus_2

Photographer: Vincenzo Russo

Summary Author: Vincenzo Russo

When we take pictures during a sunset, usually we are attracted by the bright colors visible in the west and rarely point the camera in the opposite direction, towards the east. Yet, if the conditions are favorable (with a clear and transparent sky) the show we would see would be just as beautiful. This photo, taken near Acireale, Sicily on October 21, overlooks the Ionian Sea and serves as an example of why the eastern horizon at sunset is underappreciated. The color element that dominates the horizon is the pink band that extends from about 10-20 degrees above the horizon, known as “The Belt of Venus”.

The Belt of Venus is an atmospheric phenomenon resulting from backscattering of the red wavelength spectra of light at sunset by atmospheric particles that are to the east of the observer at the anti-solar point. Near the horizon, due to the shadow projected by the Earth, the belt progressively decreases in brightness and color until it disappears completely. The phenomenon lasts a few minutes and is visible even at dawn, just before sunrise.

Photo details: Nikon D810a, Nikon 24-120 f/4 G lens, 48mm, f/4, ISO-200, 1/125 second exposure


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