One of the YouTube sites I subscribe to is that of the European Southern Observatory, which I first found out about via reader Amy Carparelli. Their ESOcasts, as they call their channel, are full of fascinating information and beautiful images. The latest one, about the phenomenon Zodiacal Light, has just been released and is as wonderful as always. Hint: it’s even better if you watch it on full screen.
Watching the ESO videos always fills me with awe about what a wonderful universe we live in. Who needs a god when you have reality like this?
Northern Arizona is a great place to see this phenomenon, along with pretty much any other astronomical phenomenon you can think of. The combination of low light pollution, high elevation, dry climate, and usually rare cloud cover make it pretty much the best region in the Continental US.
The best places are just on the other side of the San Francisco Peaks from Flagstaff; the mountains pretty much block out the Flagstaff light pollution. But conditions in Flagstaff itself are good enough that the Zodiacal Light is clearly visible from dark spots within the city limits, such as the ski resort parking lots. The Grand Canyon is another good location, since you’re guaranteed a clear view of at least half the horizon. Just be sure to be careful where you step….
Yes, I can imagine there are some beautiful (and very romantic!) skies to be seen in Arizona. I’d love to see them sometime! Another thing for the bucket list.
There’s a great place in Otago in the South Island of New Zealand too. There’s an observatory in the McKenzie Country, and there has been a bid to get the sky there declared a World Heritage Site to ensure it remains protected from light pollution. Not sure if it’s succeeded or not. A Google search of “night sky” with “observatory” and Otago or NZ or McKenzie Country will give you some beautiful shots.
Thanks for posting that! Very interesting indeed, and a phenomena about which I knew nothing. I have also subscribed…
Cheers. 🙂 I didn’t know about it either – I was completely ignorant that there was even a thing called “Zodiacal Light.”
If I’d heard the term without the explanation, I probably would have assumed there was some woo involved!
Oddly enough, I’m doing an on-line course on astronomy at the moment (Coursera) and I guessed what the result was after learning about ‘the elliptical’ and the zodiac etc. But still, a wonderful video! I love learning…! (despite my ancient years)