False Dawn and Iridium Flare
At 2:30AM my alarm went off after catching a few hours of sleep. The moon was about to set, leaving me with 3 hours of darkness to watch the Orionid meteor shower over Devils Tower. My camera captured this bright streak of light shortly before twilight began. But the fact that it appeared in 2 frames and lacks any colors suggests that it was a satellite flare and not a meteor. The diffuse glow rising up diagonally from the horizon is called the zodiacal light. Also known as false dawn, the glow is caused by the sun illuminating the dust which is shed by comets and asteroids in the inner solar system. This cone-shaped glow is projected against the constellations of the zodiac, which is the path that the sun, moon, and planets travel through the sky. I've seen the zodiacal light before, but never this bright and prominent. It can only be viewed from the darkest of locations, far away from light pollution, on very clear moonless nights.
- Kevin Palmer
- Image Size
- 6016x4016 / 14.8MB
2018, Devils Tower, Devils Tower National Monument, Iridium, Joyner Ridge, National Monument, October, Rokinon 14mm f2.8, Wyoming, astronomy, astrophotography, autumn, clear, fall, false dawn, flare, grassland, kevin palmer, night, nikon d750, satellite, sirius, sky, space, starry, stars, streak, trees, zodiacal light
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- Recent Work, Wyoming, Devil's Tower National Monument, Night Sky