What is this apparition? It’s the zodiacal light, visible when the sky is very dark. The eerie tower of light is best seen in the fall or spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when it rears up at an almost vertical angle to the horizon. During September and October you can only see it one to two hours before sunrise in a dark area, making it truly a “false dawn.” The glow is generally thought to be sunlight reflected off dust particles in the inner solar system, seen along the ecliptic or zodiacal constellations from our perspective on Earth. In early October I was at Elephant Butte Lake in southwestern New Mexico where Rush Dudley and I saw the “celestial light” within the zodiac, as Jean-Dominique Cassini described it.                 (Click on photos to enlarge)

Zodiacal Light | 2013 | THE SKY | Comments (0)