zodiacal light


zodiacal light
a luminous tract in the sky, seen in the west after sunset or in the east before sunrise and thought to be the light reflected from a cloud of meteoric matter revolving round the sun.
[1725-35]

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Band of very faint light in the night sky.

It is thought to be sunlight reflected from interplanetary dust grains lying mostly in the plane of the zodiac, or ecliptic. Seen in the west after twilight and in the east before dawn, it is most clearly visible in the tropics, where the ecliptic is approximately perpendicular to the horizon. In midnorthern latitudes it is best seen evenings in February and March and mornings in September and October (vice versa in midsouthern latitudes). The light can be followed visually to a point about 90° from the Sun. It continues to the region opposite the Sun, where a slight enhancement, the gegenschein, is visible.

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      band of light in the night sky, thought to be sunlight reflected from meteoroids concentrated in the plane of the zodiac, or ecliptic. The light is seen in the west after twilight and in the east before dawn, being easily visible in the tropics where the ecliptic is approximately vertical. In mid-northern latitudes it is best seen in the evening in February and March and in the morning in September and October.

      The zodiacal light can be followed visually along the ecliptic from a point 30° from the sun to about 90°. Photometric measurements indicate that the band continues to the region opposite the sun where a slight enhancement called the gegenschein, or counterglow, is visible. There is some zodiacal light in all parts of the sky; it can be considered an extension of the F-corona of the sun.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Zodiacal light — Zodiacal o*di a*cal, a. [Cf. F. zodiacal.] (Astron.) Of or pertaining to the zodiac; situated within the zodiac; as, the zodiacal planets. [1913 Webster] {Zodiacal light}, a luminous tract of the sky, of an elongated, triangular figure, lying… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • zodiacal light — n. a faint illumination along the ecliptic, visible in the west just after sunset or in the east just before sunrise …   English World dictionary

  • Zodiacal light — The zodiacal light is a faint, roughly triangular, whitish glow seen in the night sky which appears to extend up from the vicinity of the sun along the ecliptic or zodiac. In mid northern latitudes, the zodiacal light is best observed in the… …   Wikipedia

  • zodiacal light — /zoʊˌdaɪəkəl ˈlaɪt/ (say zoh.duyuhkuhl luyt), /ˌzoʊdiækəl/ (say .zohdeeakuhl) noun a luminous tract in the sky, seen in the west after sunset or in the east before sunrise and thought to be the light reflected from a cloud of meteoric matter… …   Australian English dictionary

  • zodiacal light — noun A soft glow of white light extending upward from the horizon along the ecliptic, particularly in the tropics …   Wiktionary

  • ZODIACAL LIGHT —    a track of light of triangular figure with its base on the horizon, which in low latitudes is seen within the sun s equatorial plane before sunrise in the E. or after sunset in the W., and which is presumed to be due to a glow proceeding from… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • zodiacal light — noun Astronomy a faint elongated cone of light sometimes seen in the night sky, extending from the horizon along the ecliptic …   English new terms dictionary

  • zodiacal light — zodi′acal light′ n. astron. a luminous tract in the sky, seen in the west after sunset or in the east before sunrise • Etymology: 1725–35 …   From formal English to slang

  • zodiacal light — noun Date: 1734 a diffuse glow seen in the west after twilight and in the east before dawn …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • zodiacal light — noun a luminous tract in the sky; a reflection of sunlight from cosmic dust in the plane of the ecliptic; visible just before sunrise and just after sunset (Freq. 2) • Hypernyms: ↑reflection, ↑reflexion …   Useful english dictionary


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