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Belt of Venus, Paranal, Chile

The Earth's shadow topped by the rosy pink Belt of Venus. Imaged by Miguel Claro (site, facebook).

The locale is Cerro Paranal, the mountain home of the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory.

The Paranal VLT (Very Large Telescope) is four optically linked 8.2m telescopes. The dome on the foreground tower contains a small telescope to monitor atmospheric seeing conditions. It can be found on this live panoramic webcam.

Use the webcam to watch the earth shadow.

Image ©Miguel Claro, shown with permission

The dark blue band close to the horizon is the shadow cast by the solid planet cast through its atmosphere. There is no scattered sunlight from this unlit air but it does scatter blue light reaching it from the surrounding air.

Above it is the pink 'Belt of Venus'. Near the edge of the Earth's shadow the air is lit by highly reddened sunlight. Some is scattered back towards the camera. Blue/violet light scattered by the atmosphere mixes with the red to give the rosy pink band. The sky colours at sunset and beyond into twilight are also influenced by the absorption of stratospheric ozone.