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Ian O'Neill

Exploration

'Belt Of Venus' Glows Over Paranal Observatory

A beautiful atmospheric phenomenon descended over the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) last week, giving the participants of the inaugural #MeetESO social media event an evening treat.

May 17, 2016
1:02 PM EDT
The Belt of Venus occurs in the anti-sunward direction just after sunset and, depending on atmospheric conditions, a very dark band (the Earth's shadow) and an orange/pink glow (backscattered sunlight) can become very obvious. | Ian O'Neill
The domes of the four main telescopes and four auxiliary telescopes of the Very Large Telescope commence opening ahead of a night's observing on May 9 during the #MeetESO social media event. Click for high-resolution version. | Ian O'Neill
One of the VLT's auxiliary telescope domes open after sunset, with the fading Band of Venus above. | Ian O'Neill
The shadow of Cerro Paranal stretches into the distance on May 8 at sunset. | Ian O'Neill