Zodiacal light and how to see it: This Week in Astronomy with Dave Eicher

This dim, cone-shaped glow points nearly straight up from the horizon and is caused by sunlight reflecting off copious cosmic dust in the solar system.
By | Published: February 13, 2023 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
John Chumack

Hi folks, tune in every week of 2023 for the best in astronomy from Astronomy Editor Dave Eicher, brought to you by Celestron.

This week, we’re talking about zodiacal light, the elusive, cone-shaped glow that can sometimes be seen pointing nearly straight up from the horizon. To spot it at this time of year, look to the west about an hour after the Sun sets and twilight dies down. The strange sight is caused by sunlight reflecting off cosmic dust that abounds in our solar system.

Data from the spacecraft have demonstrated that both collisions between asteroids in the main asteroid belt and debris from comets contribute to the zodiacal dust cloud, in a proportion roughly one part asteroid to three parts comet.

For more information on what to look for in the sky each week, visit: https://www.astronomy.com/observing/the-sky-this-week-peer-into-cassiopeias-heart/


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