Tonight's Sky
Sun
Sun
Moon
Moon
Mercury
Mercury
Venus
Venus
Mars
Mars
Jupiter
Jupiter
Saturn
Saturn

Tonight's Sky — Change location

OR

Searching...

Tonight's Sky — Select location

Tonight's Sky — Enter coordinates

° '
° '

Catch a glimpse of the elusive zodiacal light

The zodiacal light and the Winter Triangle
The zodiacal light and the Winter Triangle

This time of year is best for viewing the zodiacal light before sunrise. From dark skies, look for a cone-shaped glow pointing up from the eastern horizon. 

John Chumack from Dayton, Ohio

New Moon occurs at 2:01 p.m. EDT Monday. At its New phase, the Moon crosses the sky with the Sun and so remains hidden in our star’s glare.

Although you can’t see the New Moon, its absence from the morning sky these next two weeks provides observers with an excellent opportunity to view the zodiacal light. The strange sight is caused by sunlight reflecting off cosmic dust that abounds in our solar system. 

From the Northern Hemisphere, this time of year is the best for viewing the elusive glow before sunrise. It appears slightly fainter than the Milky Way, so you’ll need a clear moonless sky and an observing site located far from the city. 

Look for a cone-shaped glow that points nearly straight up from the eastern horizon shortly before morning twilight begins (around 5 a.m. local daylight time at mid-northern latitudes). 

The Moon remains out of the morning sky until September 23, when the waxing gibbous returns and overwhelms the much fainter zodiacal light.

0

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Read and share your comments on this article
Comment on this article
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of Astronomy.com are allowed to comment on this article. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
0 comments
ADVERTISEMENT

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter. View our Privacy Policy.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Apollo_RightRail

Click here to receive a FREE e-Guide exclusively from Astronomy magazine.

Find us on Facebook