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Zodiacal Light over La Silla

This image beautifully captures the zodiacal light, a triangular glow seen best in night skies free of overpowering moonlight and light pollution. The photograph was taken at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile in September 2009, facing west some minutes after the Sun had set. A sea of clouds has settled in the valley below La Silla, which sits at an altitude of 2400 metres, with lesser peaks and ridges poking through the mist.

The zodiacal light is sunlight reflected by dust particles between the Sun and Earth, and is best seen close to sunrise or sunset. As its name implies, this celestial glow appears in the ring of constellations known as the zodiac. These are found along the ecliptic, which is the eastward apparent “path” that the Sun traces across Earth’s sky.

Credit:

ESO/Y. Beletsky

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About the Image

Id:zodiacal_beletsky_potw
Type:Photographic
Release date:10 January 2010, 19:59
Size:3000 x 2219 px

About the Object

Name:La Silla, Zodiacal light
Type:• Solar System : Sky Phenomenon : Night Sky : Zodiacal Light
• Unspecified : Technology : Observatory
• X - Solar System

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