December - snowflakes You are here: Home Photo gallery Astronomy Scattering Zodiacal light


The zodiacal light is light scattering by the dust particles floating around in the inner solar system, the same kind of particles which are responsible for the Gegenschein, but which orbit closer to the sun. Since most particles are located closer to the sun than Earth, the zodiacal light is seen mostly less than 90 degrees away from the sun. It looks like a slanted column of white light, sometimes visible over the eastern or western horizon around astronomical twilight. It is best visible during fall in the morning, and during spring in the evening (for observers both on the northern and southern hemisphere). At those times the ecliptic along which the zodiacal light extends makes a steep angle with the horizon, and the zodiacal light is not lost in the airglow, atmospheric absorption and glare of cities, close to the horizon.

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