Excited by the prospect of, at long last, getting a nice picture of the Belt of Venus phenomenon, I set out before dawn. My destination was a spot in Brunswick, Ohio where there is available the best view of the western horizon about which I know. I worried, as I sat behind a pickup truck at a red light, that I would be too late to see, much less photograph, the colorful sight. Seemingly much later I arrived and was rewarded with a commanding view of the peaking Belt of Venus. The first “best” shot is shown above, with the broad dark band of Earth’s shadow along the horizon, colorful areas above. I shot a good many more images as the minutes passed, and watched the shadow band grow more and more narrow as the sun rose behind me and the shadow dropped beyond the horizon. As the dark band disappeared I heard the calls of approaching geese. My shot was already framed and, as I’d hoped and expected, the Canada geese glided in for a landing on a small pond in the foreground of my second “best” image. I stayed a bit longer and shot a few more frames but as I watched, the colors faded and sunlight could be seen crawling towards me across the treetops below. Fingers cold and stiff, I collapsed the tripod, stowed my gear, and headed off to breakfast. That was a fine way to start my day: with a good Belt … of Venus!
Addendum: An interesting photo was posted to the Palomar Skies blog… yes, the historic and world-famous Palomar Observatory! See: Palomar Flies its Colors! It turns out the technical name for this phenomenon is "circumhorizon arc." More on this may be found at: Atmospheric Optics.