Belt of Venus above the DIMM tower in Cerro Paranal

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In the foreground, we can see the white Meteorological Tower of Paranal. The small dome contains a telescope dedicated to monitoring the atmospheric seeing conditions, known as a Differential Image Motion Monitor (DIMM.) In the background is strongly visible the Earth’s shadow, the shadow that the Earth itself casts on its atmosphere. This shadow is visible in the opposite half of the sky to the sunset or sunrise, and is seen right above the horizon as a dark blue band. Immediately above, a pink band that is visible above the dark blue of the Earth’s shadow is called “Belt of Venus”, and is caused by backscattering of refracted sunlight due to fine dust particles high in the atmosphere.

Image taken taken in 16/10/2015 from Cerro Paranal, Atacama desert, Chile.


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