Zodiacal Light and Nemrut Heritage

By: Tunc Tezel


Region: Middle East

Site: Mount Nemrut - Turkey

Date: 2013 Oct 8


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As the morning twilight approaches, the winter Milky Way and the zodiacal light (sunlight reflection from dust in the Solar System plane) appear over the ancient statues of Mount Nemrut. One surprise appearance is by Canopus, the second brightest star in the night sky, shining less than a degree over the southern horizon. This was only possible thanks to the high elevation of the site. Normally it should not be visible from a location this far north, 37d 59' N, which could be the northernmost visibility record for Canopus.
The World Heritage site is located at top of the 2200-meter high mountain in southeastern Turkey, near Adıyaman. In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues (8-9 meters high) of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian and Persian gods. Click on the constellation icon above the image to see an all-sky view of this morning. Tunc Tezel.

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