I’m very fortunate to receive many incredible photos; there is often some duplication, but I look at and appreciate each and every photo that comes my way!
Today, it was a beauty! The photo that Bruce Hamilton took last evening at Gibson Lake near Annapolis Royal took my breath away.
Many of you have seen something that looks like it, but how many of you know what it is? When Bruce snapped the photo, he was wrapped in a pinkish glow that extends roughly 10°–20° above the horizon. This phenomenon is known as the Belt of Venus! When conditions are just right, this rosy arch is visible long after sunset or long before sunrise. It’s caused by backscattering of refracted sunlight off very fine dust particles high in the atmosphere.
Often, and in the photo above, the glow is separated from the horizon by a dark layer… the Earth's shadow! The arch's light pink color is due to backscattering of reddened light from the rising or setting Sun. That’s why you’ll always find the Belt of Venus opposite the sunset.
Another little science lesson in the sky!