Gegenschein and Milky Way

Explore the Night with Bob King

Fuzzy Glows: See Zodiacal Light, Gegenschein, Airglow, and Aurorae

Find time this season to set aside your telescope and seek the night sky's ghostly glows.

Comet 103P/Hartley diffuse appearance

Explore the Night with Bob King

Comet Hartley Comes Home Again; Gegenschein-gazing

Get acquainted with Comet 103P/Hartley. It's been a dozen years since its last bright apparition. While you're at it challenge yourself to spot the elusive gegenschein.

Orionid composite

Explore the Night with Bob King

All About the Dust — Orionids and Zodiacal Light

It doesn't take much to create a spectacle when it comes to astronomical observation. Just a pinch or two of dust.

Earth and Uranus compared

Explore the Night with Bob King

Uranus Queues Up for Opposition

Journey to a remote planet then double back to check in on the latest stirrings of Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann before touching the finger of dawn.

Zodiacal light

Solar System

Zodiacal Dust Seen from Earth Might Come from Mars

Much of the solar system’s interplanetary dust — seen as zodiacal light from Earth — might come from Mars.

Explore the Night with Bob King

A Zodiac Ramble . . . with a Few Fun Detours

Take a trip along the ecliptic from dusk till dawn to check out the sights along this well-traveled highway — the zodiacal light, Mercury, and the gegenschein, plus scenic detours to a comet and asteroid.

Explore the Night with Bob King

The Sacred Hour Before Dawn and an Evening Comet Surprise

Silence can sometimes be in short supply, but one sure place to find it is under a starry sky before the first blush of dawn. Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann erupts again!

Celestial News & Events

Orionid Meteors Max Out Sunday, Zodiacal Light Returns

See what cosmic dust can do! Head outside this weekend for the peak of the Orionid meteor shower and an eyeful of zodiacal light.

Feather of Dusty Light

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Mercury Punctuates The False Dawn

Early risers get a triple treat this week and next: a ravishing dawn Moon, an excellent apparition of Mercury, and a hint of Halloween in the ghostly zodiacal light.

Dust with bling

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Take the Gegenschein Challenge

How and when to see the gegenschein, cousin of the zodiacal light and one of the greatest night sky naked-eye challenges.

Touch of dusty lingering dusk

Explore the Night with Bob King

How to See and Shoot the Zodiacal Light

The ethereal zodiacal light returns to view this month. Learn how to see and photograph it with your digital camera.

Zodiacal light


Spotting Comet Dust Around Alien Suns

Have you ever spotted the glow of a “false dawn”? Now astronomers have spotted a similar zodiacal light around nine nearby stars.

Cone of zodiacal light stretching into the sky from behind a dark silhouette of evergreen trees.

Explore the Night with Bob King

Zodiacal Light - Captivated by Comet Dust

October's a perfect time to see the zodiacal light, a tapering tower of comet dust standing high in the eastern sky before dawn. Here's how to find it.

Celestial News & Events

The Quest for Zodiacal Light

The first half of October 2013 is a good chance for early risers to catch the zodiacal light, the faint eastern glow preceding dawn.

Celestial News & Events

The Evening Zodiacal Light in 2013

The zodiacal light shows very well from dark locations at mid-northern latitudes starting about 80 minutes after sunset on moonless evenings from late January to early April.

Solar System

Zodiacal Light's Mystery Solved

Eerie and elusive, the zodiacal light is created from sunlight glinting off countless dust particles in the inner solar system. At last, astronomers have figured out where all that grit comes from.

Celestial News & Events

Zodiacal Light in the Evening

The zodiacal light is on its best display in the Northern Hemisphere on moonless evenings from February through April.


Have You Seen the Zodiacal Light?

This pearly glow is surprisingly easy to see — if you know what to look for.