Thursday, February 18, 2016
The Anti-Solar Point and Earth's Shadow
There are so many amazing things you can see in the skies of New Mexico, because the skies are so incredibly clear. Most of them had to be pointed out to me on this trip. We were driving East, after sunset and Stan noticed the colored "V" ahead of us. We pulled over and both took pictures of what we saw, without having any idea of what it was. That night, our friend John said "Oh yeah, that's the anti-solar point." The point in the sky opposite the sun. Usually you would see the orange and yellow colors completely across the picture. But in this case, he explained, the Sun set behind a mountain top and that's why the colors are missing in the center of the picture. Sure enough, the next night we saw the same colors, but they were the same from side to side. And then he said, "Oh, and the darker gray-blue above the horizon is the shadow of the Earth as the Sun sets behind it!" Who would have imagined that! I think I had read of these phenomena in the past, but in the hazy skies of New York who ever gets to see things like this!
I decided to show you a photograph I did a day later, in about the same place. Notice that the pinkish colors go completely across the width of the image, with no mountain to block the sun.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:15 PM