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Zodiacal Light
Captured before a September dawn by Amir H. Abolfath at Firuzkuh, 80km east of Tehran, Iran.
©Amir H. Abolfath, shown with permission.

The zodiacal light is the pale white cone of light slanting upwards to the right from the horizon. The Milky Way crosses the image slanting in the opposite direction. Orion is at upper right. The stars have trailed slightly during the time exposure.

Sunlight scattered by untold millions of interplanetary dust grains extending out to the orbit of Jupiter produce the soft glow. The grains are up to 0.3mm or so across and are miles apart.

This is the season in the northern hemisphere to look for the glow about an hour after sunset . The cone lies along the ecliptic, the approximate plane of the Solar System. Close to the Spring Equinox the ecliptic and the cone point most strongly upwards. You will need a clean sky free of artificial lights. The lower your latitude the easier it will be to find it.

Zodiacal Light