Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, Ricardo Amils, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, William M. Irvine, Daniele L. Pinti, Michel Viso

Zodiacal Light

  • Anny-Chantal Levasseur-RegourdEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-11274-4_1706

Keywords

Asteroidal dust, cometary dust, dust, dust debris, exo-zodiacal clouds, gegenschein, IDPs, interplanetary dust, light scattering, meteors, zodiacal cloud (synonym: interplanetary dust cloud), zodiacal light, zodiacal thermal emission

Definition

The zodiacal light is a faint veil of light covering the Earth’s sky. Brighter towards the Sun and the  ecliptic, it originates in solar light scattered by a cloud of dust particles, mostly of cometary and asteroidal origin. The increase of brightness, toward the Sun and the near-ecliptic region, indicates an increase in the space density of the interplanetary dust cloud, which has a lenticular shape around the Sun; a slight brightness enhancement toward the antisolar region (gegenschein) corresponds to a backscattering effect. Thermal emission from the zodiacal particles forms, away from the galactic plane, the most prominent component in the near-infrared sky.

History

Although some hints are suspected in ancient texts, Childrey (1661)...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Brorsen T (1854) Über eine neue Erscheinung am Zodiacallichtes. Geographie Witterungskunde 8:156–160Google Scholar
  2. Cassini JD (1683) Découverte de la lumière qui paroist dans le zodiaque. Acad roy des sci, ParisGoogle Scholar
  3. Childrey J (1661) Britannia Baconica or the natural rarities of England, Scotland and Whales (London)Google Scholar
  4. Dermott SF, Grogan K, Durda DD, Jayaraman S, Kehoe TJJ, Kortenkamp SJ, Wyatt MC (2001) Orbital evolution of interplanetary dust. In: Grün E, Gustafson BAS, Dermott SF, Fechtig H (eds) Interplanetary dust. Springer, Berlin, pp 569–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dortous de Mairan JJ (1733) Traité physique et historique de l’aurore boréale. Académie royale des sciences, ParisGoogle Scholar
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  11. Levasseur-Regourd AC, Renard JB, Dumont R (1991) The zodiacal cloud complex. In: Levasseur-Regourd AC, Hasegawa H (eds) IAU Coll. on origin and evolution of interplanetary dust. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 131–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Levasseur-Regourd AC, Mann I, Dumont R, Hanner MS (2001) Optical and thermal properties of interplanetary dust. In: Grün E, Gustafson BAS, Dermott SF, Fechtig H (eds) Interplanetary dust. Springer, Berlin, pp 57–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Levasseur-Regourd AC, Lasue J, Desvoivres E (2006) Early inner solar system impactors: physical properties of comet nuclei and dust particles revisited. Orig Life Evol Biosph 36:507–514ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Nesvorny D, Jenniskens P, Levison HF, Bottke W, Vokrouhlicky D, Gounelle M (2010) Cometary origin of the zodiacal cloud and carbonaceous meteorites. Astrophys J 713:816–826ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Reach WT (2010) Structure of the Earth’s circumsolar dust ring. Icarus 208:848–850Google Scholar
  16. Sykes MV, Greenberg R (1986) The formation and origin of the IRAS zodiacal dust bands as a consequence of single collisions between asteroids. Icarus 65:51–69ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UPMC Univ. Paris 6/LATMOS-IPSLParisFrance