Sunsets get a lot of attention. We’re naturally attracted to bright lights and warmth so we tend to turn towards the west to farewell the Sun for the day while enjoying the change of colours in the sky as it sinks below the horizon.
But have you ever looked to the opposite side of the sky at this time? There’s a light show of another kind occurring there as well. As the Sun disappears the shadow of the Earth starts to appear, and above that is a delicate pink blush known as the Belt of Venus. It is strongest when low to the horizon, as seen in the photo above, fading away as the Earth keeps turning eastwards and the darkness rises higher, so on a good night you might get to see it for 10 minutes or so immediately following sunset.
It’s also possible to see this just before sunrise in the morning, but since most of us do our best to avoid that time of day it doesn’t get noticed quite as often!
I’ve long had the goal of photographing of the full moon rising within the Belt of Venus – even better would be the Moon in eclipse – but circumstances have not been kind to me so far (thanks, clouds!) But that won’t stop me seeking out the Belt of Venus anytime I can see a clear eastern horizon at the end of the day.