Abstract

The Belt of Venus (or antitwilight arch) is a reddish band often seen above the antisolar horizon during clear civil twilights, and immediately beneath it is the bluish-gray earth’s shadow (or dark segment) cast on the atmosphere. Although both skylight phenomena have prompted decades of scientific research, surprisingly few measurements exist of their spectral, colorimetric, and photometric structure. Hyperspectral imaging of several clear twilights supplies these missing radiometric details and reveals some common spectral features of the antisolar sky at twilight: (1) color differences between the dark segment and the sunlit sky above the antitwilight arch are small or nil; (2) antisolar color and luminance extremes usually occur at different elevation angles; and (3) the two twilight phenomena are most vivid for modest aerosol optical depths. A second-order scattering model that includes extinction by aerosols and ozone provides some preliminary radiative transfer explanations of these twilight features’ color and brightness.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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