For the past two days – in Mutare, Zimbabwe – we have had crystal clear evening skies and a brief resurgence of brightly colored volcanic sunsets.
On August 3, just before darkness, Venus, Jupiter and the star Regulus all became clearly visible just above the horizon in a fading purplish twilight arch.
The attached wide-angle picture is a 4-second time exposure taken with a tripod mounted Panasonic Lumix DMC-TX60 compact camera in Night Scenery mode.
The gap in the hills below the planets is Christmas Pass through which the main Mutare-Harare road runs. The streaked out lights below center skyline are from cars driving down towards town.
This time there are hardly any lights visible in the left foreground due to yet another evening of winter power load shedding in Chikanga suburb (in contrast to the Blue Moon night shot – below – in which all the lights were on).
The purplish appearance of the sky in both the late evening planets and very early dawn moonset photographs is due to lingering traces of highly dispersed aerosols from the Calbuco eruption more than three months ago.
Dr. Peter Lowenstein has contributed many beautiful and fascinating images and stories to EarthSky. Trained as a geochemist, he spent his early years with the Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea, specializing in metals and volcanoes. In 1989, he moved to the Zimbabwe Geological Survey as Chief Economic Geologist and has lived and worked in Zimbabwe ever since. Peter is now retired to Zimbabwe, in a house with a beautiful view in Murambi East, Mutare, where he pursues favorite hobbies including construction of electronic gadgets, listening to music, gardening, surfing the Internet ... and photography.