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Venus and Zodiacal Light

By: Tunc Tezel

 

Region: Middle East

Site: Lake Salda - Turkey

Date: 2009 March 16

As the night darkness arrives in Lake Salda in southwestern Turkey, the cone shape glow of the zodiacal light appears in the western horizon. Made by the sunlight reflection from dust particles in solar system plane, the zodiacal light is an unusual triangle of light visible along the ecliptic before dawn and after dusk under dark skies, specially in pre-dawn sky of late Summer and early Autumn and just after dusk in late winter and early spring (considered for northern hemisphere and the opposite for southern viewers). Zodiacal light is so bright at those mentioned time of year because the dust band is oriented nearly vertical at sunrise or sunset, so that the thick air near the horizon does not block out relatively bright reflecting dust. There are more celestial delights in this end of winter evening scene. Bright planet Venus is setting behind the mountains as the twilight fades. Here Venus is photographed north of ecliptic and it nearly out of the Zodiacal Light. At the upper end of the extensive cone shape zodiacal light, Pleiades star cluster is visible, while stars of the W-shape constellation Cassiopeia in the band of Milky Way is notable at the image right side. Tunc Tezel

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