In this beautiful panorama of the Canary Islands, the planet Earth casts a shadow over its own atmosphere, creating a dark blue arc at dusk. Directly above the shadow is a pink glow known as the Belt of Venus, the sky.
The astrophotographer Chirag Upreti took this view from the island of La Palma, which contains some of the most powerful telescopes in the world. Here you can see the Nordic optical telescope (left) and the William Herschel telescope, the large white telescope with onion-shaped dome. To its right are several smaller telescopes, including the Dutch Open Telescope, the Swedish Solar Telescope and the Isaac Newton Telescope.
"On this evening after sunset, the bright blue of the rising shadow of the Earth hit me completely unprepared," Upreti told Space.com. "I took an eight-shot panorama to capture the shadow over the mountain, with the dreamy clouds rolling down in the caldera." [1
The shadow of the earth is best seen over a flat horizon from a great height. So Upreti ventured to Roque de los Muchachos, the highest point of the island of La Palma, and directed his camera to the sea.
The shadow of our planet and the Venusbelt usually appear in bourgeois twilight when the sky is clear. During the sunset, the shadow seems to rise in the sky, and at sunrise it retreats into the horizon.
The Belt of Venus appears pink for the same reason that sunsets and sunrises paint the sky with similar shades. As sunlight passes through the Earth's atmosphere and is scattered by particles, shorter wavelengths such as blue are more scattered than longer wavelengths such as red. Sunrises and sunsets pass through the Earth's atmosphere for a longer distance before it reaches our eyes, and so does more blue light scattered on the way. The red, orange and yellow shades of light then conquer the sky and give us the perfect sunsets – and the Venus Belt.
Editor's Note: If you have an amazing night sky photo that you would like to share with us and our news partners for a possible story or image gallery, please contact the responsible editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos @. space.com.