The Belt of Venus Above Mount Etna and Piazza Armerina

April 04, 2022


Dario_Belt Of Venus Above Mount Etna and Piazza Armerina LD (003)

Photographer: Dario Giannobile 

Summary Author: Dario Giannobile 

The Belt of Venus is a particular coloring effect just above the horizon that can be observed in the east shortly after sunset or just before dawn in a westerly direction -- normally between 10 and 20 ° above the horizon. The pinkish coloration is caused by Sun’s rays illuminating the higher layers of the horizon, coloring them with a pink/orange light.

This sunlight is however partially shielded by the horizon behind which the Sun has set (or from which it's rising). For this reason, a shadow forms in the lowest layer of the atmosphere, highlighted as a blue band, referred to as the dark segment, below the Belt of Venus. The Earth’s shadow in this case should not be confused with the shadow of the entire planet that obscures the Moon during a lunar eclipse. It’s certainly the shadow of the Earth but more precisely of a small portion; the horizon hiding the Sun.

In this image, the Belt of Venus and the dark segment can be easily identified thanks to the "dividing line" that separates differences in brightness and color just above the snowcapped Etna Volcano. Note that below Etna is the city of Piazza Armerina, famous for the Villa del Casale, a UNESCO heritage site. Photo taken on December 20, 2021.

Photo details: Canon 6D camera, Sigma 150 – 600mm lens, f/8, ISO-400, 1/60 second exposure

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