Skip to main content
Select Source:

zodiacal light

zodiacal light or zodiacal band, a faint band of light sometimes seen in the western sky just after sunset in the spring, extending up from the horizon at the point where the sun has just set, or in the eastern sky just before sunrise in the autumn. The light is so faint as to be obscured by moonlight. It is caused by the reflection and scattering of sunlight by a sparse band of tiny dust particles that appears to be an extension of the solar corona, stretching out beyond the orbit of Jupiter. Concentrated in the plane of the ecliptic, the faint light is best seen in the region of the sky called the zodiac. Near the equator the zodiacal light sometimes seems to stretch completely across the sky. It was first investigated and explained by the astronomer Gian Domenico Cassini about 1690.

See also gegenschein.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"zodiacal light." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"zodiacal light." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/zodiacal-light

"zodiacal light." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/zodiacal-light

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

zodiacal light

zodiacal light Zone of light apparent at night, after twilight, and again before morning twilight, caused by atmospheric particles scattering sunlight.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"zodiacal light." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"zodiacal light." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/zodiacal-light

"zodiacal light." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved July 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/zodiacal-light

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.