Zodiacal Light Visibility

At this latitude the best time to see zodiacal light in the evening sky is in the few weeks before the spring equinox. After that the top of the glow is lost in the Milky Way and summer twilight advances rapidly. Moonlight, haze, light pollution and cloud generally mean that it is only seen from rural locations on a few nights each year.

These plots from GraphDark cover half the sky and illustrate the changing viewing conditions. More detail on seeing the Zodiacal Light is given in the GraphDark section of the site, along with software showing its visibility.

Looking west at nightfall in late February.

The ecliptic is in green and makes a fairly steep angle to the horizon, lifting the zodiacal light cone out of the murk.

A month before the winter solstice.

The ecliptic makes a shallow angle with the horizon and the zodiacal light is simply lost in the haze.

Other Glows Topics