Home > Ephemeris Program, Observing > 04/01/2014 – Ephemeris – Viewing Zodiacal Light

04/01/2014 – Ephemeris – Viewing Zodiacal Light

April 1, 2014

Ephemeris for April Fools Day, Tuesday, April 1st. The sun will rise at 7:23. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 46 minutes, setting at 8:09. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 10:37 this evening.

There is a faint glow visible to the careful observer at twilight’s end at 9:51 p.m. This glow is in the west. It’s Zodiacal Light, the reflected glow from countless bits of cometary dust in the plane of the solar system. You’ll need to go to a spot with no towns or cities immediately to the west of you. The glow will appear as a thin pyramidal glow tilted to the left. It’s tough to find the first time, but once seen you’ll easily find it again. A recent study of the glow confirms the source of it. While bright comets are fairly rare, small comets are very plentiful, including plenty that graze the sun and evaporate liberating their dust into interplanetary space. After tomorrow night the Moon will interfere for two weeks.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

I could never photograph Zodiacal Light when I wanted to.  However I did catch it inadvertently.

Zodiacal Light and Comet Hale-Bopp April 1997

Zodiacal Light and Comet Hale-Bopp April 1997. My image.

Zodiacal Light and Comet Hale-Bopp April 1997. Enhanced contrast.

Zodiacal Light and Comet Hale-Bopp April 1997. Enhanced contrast.

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