Zodiacal Light Season is Upon Us: Take a Shot at the “False Dawn”


Zodiacal light and Milky Way over Paranal

Image Credit & Copyright: Gerhard Hudepohl of the Milky Way Galaxy and Zodiacal Light over one of the auxiliary telescopes at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the Atacama Desert, Paranal, Chile (Links below).

Who knows what we’re looking at here? Not the Milky Way Galaxy but that tall pillar of white light to the right side of the photo. Twice a year the orientation of the Earth places us at a prime vantage point to view a little known and in my opinion underappreciated phenomenon. Also known to the ancient Persian and Arabic astronomers as “False Dawn” or “Tall Twilight”, Zodiacal light is a vast towering pyramid of light whose point follows the zodiac constellations and the ecliptic into the night sky, reaching out for the Milky Way, spooky right? Here’s WHY and WHAT this is……..

In short, Zodiacal Light is a vast dust ring that lies in the…

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Author: rjbailey

"I have no idea what I'm doing, but I know I'm doing it really, really well." - Andy Dwyer

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