Weinberg, J. L. Space Astronomy Laboratory, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Last reviewed:June 2020
- Fraunhofer corona
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A diffuse, night-sky luminosity easily seen at low to middle geographic latitudes in the absence of moonlight. It is caused by sunlight scattered and absorbed by interplanetary (solar system) dust particles. Zodiacal light extends over the entire sky, but it is brightest toward the Sun and in the zodiacal band. (In the ecliptic at 30° from the Sun its visual brightness is three times that of the brightest part of the Milky Way.) It is best seen in the west after evening twilight and in the east before morning twilight (Fig. 1), when the ecliptic is close to the vertical. In the Northern Hemisphere this corresponds to spring evenings and autumn mornings. See also: Ecliptic; Interplanetary matter
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