Equinox

Zodiacal Light Vs. Milky Way
Image Credit & Copyright: Daniel López

Explanation: Ghostly Zodiacal light, featured near the center of this remarkable panorama, is produced as sunlight is scattered by dust in the Solar System’s ecliptic plane. In the weeks surrounding the March equinox (today at 1732 UT) Zodiacal light is more prominent after sunset in the northern hemisphere, and before sunrise in the south, when the ecliptic makes a steep angle with the horzion. In the picture, the narrow triangle of Zodiacal light extends above the western horizon and seems to end at the lovely Pleides star cluster. Arcing above the Pleides are stars and nebulae along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. Recorded on March 10 from Teide National Park on the island of Tenerife, the vista is composed of 4 separate pictures spaning over 180 degrees.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap100320.html

and an equinox sky show

Equinox Sky Show
03.19.2010

March 19, 2010: When the sun sets on Saturday, March 20th, a special kind of night will fall across the Earth. It’s an equal night.

Or as an astronomer would say, “it’s an equinox.” It’s the date when the sun crosses the celestial equator heading north. Spring begins in one hemisphere, autumn in the other. The day and night are of approximately equal length.

To celebrate the occasion, Nature is providing a sky show.

see captionIt begins as soon as the sky grows dark. The Moon materializes first, a fat crescent hanging about a third of the way up the western sky. Wait until the twilight blue fades completely black and you will see that the Moon is not alone. The Pleiades are there as well.

The Moon and the Pleiades are having a close encounter of rare beauty. There’s so little space between the two, the edge of the Moon will actually cover some of cluster’s lesser stars. According to David Dunham of the International Occultation Timing Association, this is the best Moon-Pleiades meeting over the United States until the year 2023.

http://heliophysics.org/headlines/y2010/19mar_equinox.htm

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