Why is it in the news?
- Scientists at the Physics Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, have recently published a paper proposing a novel explanation for the origin of Zodiacal light.
More about the news
- According to the study, the dust from Mars’s two moons, Deimos and Phobos, could be a significant contributor to the interplanetary dust responsible for Zodiacal light.
- This hypothesis suggests that dust particles ejected from the surfaces of these moons could scatter sunlight and contribute to the phenomenon observed from Earth.
- Phobos, in particular, is of interest due to its relatively close proximity to Mars and its distinctive features, including the Stickney crater.
· Stickney crater is a prominent feature on Phobos, measuring approximately 10 kilometres in diameter.
· The crater’s large size and unique characteristics make it a focal point of study for researchers interested in the composition and geology of Mars’s moons.
About Zodiacal light
- Zodiacal light refers to the faint, diffuse glow of sunlight scattered by interplanetary dust particles in the plane of the ecliptic.
- It is observable from Earth under specific conditions, typically on completely dark nights far from sources of light pollution.
- Interplanetary dust consists of tiny particles of cosmic dust distributed throughout the space between planets in the solar system. These particles can vary in size from microscopic to several millimetres in diameter.
- The ecliptic is the apparent path that the Sun traces across the celestial sphere over the course of a year from Earth’s perspective. The Zodiacal light is visible along this path due to the scattering of sunlight by interplanetary dust.