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Beautiful Backscatter | Space Wallpaper

Belt of Venus Over Cerro Paranal
This beautiful space wallpaper shows the view to the east from Paranal Observatory, seconds after the sun has disappeared behind the horizon. (Image credit: C. Liefke/ESO )

This beautiful space wallpaper shows the view to the east from Paranal Observatory, seconds after the sun has disappeared behind the horizon. The orange glow of the sunset can be seen against the 1.8-metre VLT Auxiliary Telescopes, and the almost full moon is hanging in the sky. But the image is more interesting still, thanks to an atmospheric phenomenon known as the Belt of Venus. The grey-bluish shadow above the horizon is the shadow of the Earth, and right above it is a pinkish glow. This phenomenon is produced by the reddened light of the setting sun being backscattered by the Earth's atmosphere. This image was released Aug. 5, 2013.

Space.com Staff
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