Hello Fellow Astronuts,

Zodiacal Light is a faint glow in the sky that you see in the sky at dark rural places. The glow is so soft & fragile that it is obliterated by the presence of moonlight in the sky. Zodiacal Light is usually seen in the spring season approximately one hour after sunset towards the western direction, and in the autumn towards the eastern direction approximately one hour before sunrise.

When seen before sunrise it is also known as the ‘False Dawn’. The shape of the light is quite peculiar and recognisable triangular shape, with the base of the triangle along the horizon and the apex along the ecliptic. The triangle can be seen tilted if the Ecliptic is tilted at your observation site.

The light is actually the sunlight shining off the dust particles present in the Solar System. The dust keep replenishing from the tail and debris of comets which roam the Solar System.

In this image the Zodiacal Light is seen above the town of Ranikhet, along with the Evening Star – Venus. The familiar bright constellations of the Winter Hexagon are also seen in the March evening sky. Several Himalayan villages are visible in the valley, and the town of Ranikhet shines brightly 10km away, on the left horizon.

The site of the photograph itself is Majkhali, where I conduct my bi-annual astrophotography workshop – “Sky Photo Trip

 

Ajay Talwar

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