Not a Sunset. Not a Sunrise

This is what I saw at sunrise this morning:

The interesting catch: This is the western horizon. Generally speaking, the western horizon is not the one you expect to have sunrise-like qualities to it, so I naturally found it interesting and snapped a photo. My expectation is that the haze in the air caught the reddish morning light as the sun peeped out. Pretty in any event.

And for you completists out there, here’s the actual sunrise:

Also pretty.

Update, 1:37pm: in comments, Stephen suggests what I am seeing there is the Belt of Venus.

23 Comments on “Not a Sunset. Not a Sunrise”

  1. Very nice…
    Much better than what I saw this morning. Grey storm clouds. And right now I am looking outside and what do I see? More grey storm clouds. If it would only start raining I would feel better about “the grey storm clouds”.

  2. Justme:

    I don’t think there would be that much of a market. And anyway, my subjects tend to be the same: Family, pets, sunrises and sunsets.

  3. At least you got a nice perk for being up at sunrise. Sadly, I’m often up at sunrise. Awake, no, but up. I guess you were awake since you had the presence of mind to take that picture.

  4. Did you ever see a parhelion (or a “sun dog” as it’s sometimes called)? I saw one in the middle of nowhere in Minnesota as I was driving through drifting snow on New Year’s Day, and it was frankly one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I just regret that I didn’t have my camera at the time.

  5. Yes, that is the belt of venus or architave (think that’s how to spell that). actually the red part is the belt, where the sunlight scatters off the rim of Earth through the atmosphere. The deeper blue below the red is the gosh-darn SHADOW OF EARTH!

    I always love to see them.

    By the way they are also visible in the East at sunset. It takes a clear sky to see at either time.

  6. Yup, that’s the Belt of Venus for sure. I see it all the time. It’s basically the shadow of the Earth itself on the haze in the atmosphere. It’ll be darkest and highest opposite the Sun (so it’s in the east at sunset). If you have a clear horizon, you can actually see it as highest opposite the sun, and getting lower (closer to the horizon) as you turn north or south.

    From an airplane once I saw it as a giant wedge in the sky and it was phenomenal. I always point it out to people when they see it.

    And you’ll like this irony: despite the name, Venus can never be in it. Venus is always near the Sun, and the Belt is opposite the Sun in the sky. :-)

  7. The coolest thing I have seen in the sky is a full-circle rainbow. I still am not exactly sure how they occur, but they are really something.

  8. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang in Japan!

    Hell, that ain’t a belt! That’s a barn! Sheesh!!!

  9. JJS: All rainbows are circular, you just normally can’t see the whole thing. If you know a pilot, ask them, they see them fully from the air.

  10. Lots of people don’t seem to realize that you can face away from the sun during sunset or sunrise and still get a good picture.

  11. Jamie (#19) is right – rainbows are circular.

    I’ve seen two while flying so far, didn’t have my camera with me either time, dammit.

    Other weather phenomenom usually only seen from the air: glories. Think anti-shadows. They’re incredibly cool, and the one time I saw it I had no camera with me, either…

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