Zodiacal Light

 



Zodiacal Light image

I just found out (11 August 1999), that the unique portion of my name: "Hsi " has the identical definition as "zodiacal light!" The definition is: n: "a diffuse glow seen in the west after twilight and in the east before dawn." I had always been told that my name means "early light", the "light before dawn." The above image of zodiacal light was photographed by Andrew Harwood.

Deborah Byrd also wrote some webpages on Zodiacal Light, the texts of which I reproduce here:

Zodiacal Light
If you're out in the country, looking toward a clear eastern sky before dawn, you might notice a strange pyramid of light reaching up from the horizon. What is the zodiacal light -- or "false dawn"?

Monday, September 21, 1998

DB: This is Earth and Sky for Monday, September 21. Now that the moon is back in the evening sky, make a note to yourself to look in the sky before dawn.
JB: In the next couple of weeks, you'll have a chance to see an autumn phenomenon -- a pyramid of light in the predawn sky -- if you find a place where the sky is dark. This is the zodiacal light, best seen from this hemisphere in the east before dawn at this time of year. The zodiacal light was called the "false dawn" in the Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam. Look for it about an hour before the real dawn begins, before any trace of twilight appears in the eastern sky.
DB: The zodiacal light is really sunlight bouncing off dust grains in our solar system. These grains lie mostly in the plane of the solar system -- that's why you see the light in a line leading up from the horizon instead of spread out all over the sky. And it's why you can see the light most easily from this hemisphere at this time of year. Right now, the ecliptic -- roughly the plane of the solar system -- stands nearly straight up with respect to the eastern horizon before dawn.


Zodiacal Light (n)
If you're out in the country, looking toward a clear western sky in early evening, you might notice a strange pyramid of light reaching up from the horizon. This is the zodiacal light -- and we tell you what makes it -- and how to look for it after twilight.

Friday, March 8, 1996

JB: This is Earth and Sky for Friday, March 8. Now the moon is rising a couple of hours after sunset, leaving the evening sky dark for stargazing.
DB: And that means you'll have a chance to see a springtime phenomenon -- a pyramid of light in the evening sky -- if you find a place where the sky is dark. This is the zodiacal light, best seen from this hemisphere in the evening at this time of year. Look for it about an hour after sunset, when all traces of twilight have left the sky. Also, it's easier to see the light the closer you are to the equator -- I've seen it a number of times from here in Texas -- and it's said to be an amazing sight from the tropics. The zodiacal light looks very eerie -- almost like a city or town just beyond that western horizon. But the source of the light is really much farther away.
JB: The zodiacal light is really sunlight bouncing off dust grains in our solar system. These grains lie mostly in the plane of the solar system -- that's why you see the light in a line leading up from the horizon instead of spread out all over the sky. And it's why you can see the light most easily from this hemisphere at this time of year. Right now, the ecliptic -- or plane of the solar system -- stands nearly straight up with respect to the western horizon after sunset. Our show is made possible by the National Science Foundation. We're Block and Byrd for Earth and Sky.


More Zodiac Stuff!

Usually, I don't pay much attention to astrology and horoscopes, but a friend of mine had been sending me them, and I found them simply amazing! Especially the predictions available on Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts website. My Zodiac sign is Taurus, and his Eclipse prediction for Wednesday, August 11, 1999 seems to be particularly clarvoiyant for me.

In Chinese Astrology, I was born in the Year of the Ox. My personality is supposed to be like this:

Those born in the year of the Ox are trustworthy and dependable. They are blessed with a strong sense of integrity.
Basically, Oxen are introverted, self-confident, steady and conscientious.
They are calm, methodical and tireless workers and are often in positions of authority and responsibility.
Oxen are known to be kind and caring. They are positive and logical thinkers, and have their feet planted firmly on the ground.
Despite these good qualities, Oxen tend to be stubborn, unapproachable, highly prejudiced and narrow-minded. Nevertheless, through hard work and fortitude, Oxen are likely to prosper.
Oxen like to be part of big organisations like universities, corporations and hospitals.
In the pastime corner, young Oxen are attracted to sports while the older ones like gardening.

Last updated 14 August 1999

Copyright © 1999 by Duen Hsi Yen, All rights reserved.

E-mail: yen@noogenesis.com