By Brian May
The Zodiacal mild, that misty diffuse cone of sunshine visible within the West after sundown and the East sooner than dawn, is a gorgeous and exciting phenomenon. although every person can benefit from the sight from a definitely darkish position, it really is poorly understood, and has been the topic of particularly little examine. Brian may possibly begun his study into the topic in 1970, and was once ultimately provided his PhD in 2007, after a hiatus of greater than 30 years pursuing his different profession as guitarist together with his rock band Queen. This publication is Brian’s thesis, and as such provides the result of his examine for astronomers.
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Extra resources for A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud
G. Sanchez 1969). c) Solar Corona measurements - The outer regions of the Solar Corona, so stunningly visible at times of total solar eclipse, merge into the inner parts of the ZL, so measurements on the Corona can be relevant (Beavers et al 1980). d) Position of the axis of the ZL - measurements are made of the angle the axis makes with the ecliptic and its points of intersection. The aim is to ascertain which plane the dust principally lies in, and if its distribution is symmetrical about this plane, and symmetrical East to West.
Searches for parallax effects in the ZL axis dependent on the observer’s latitude yielded conflicting results (perhaps hardly surprising given the difficulty of correcting for atmospheric extinction, and the extreme difficulty of seeing the ZL at all in high latitudes). Roosen (1970) failed to detect the Earth’s shadow passing through the Gegenschein, an effect which ought to have been detectable if the dust were near to the Earth (except on one occasion, when a comet was held to be responsible).
If the source of replenishment of the material is outside the Solar System, we might expect an entirely different pattern of velocities. However, opinions on the relative strengths of the various forces acting on a particle vary greatly, so the question of the age of the Zodiacal Dust may be regarded as still unresolved, and certainly was in 1970. If the dust did turn out to be a remnant of the creation of the Sun’s whole planetary system, we would still expect a predominantly prograde cloud. To sum up, in 1970, uncertainties in observations of radial velocities, combined with uncertainties as to which theoretical model should be used as a comparison, left the question of the real motions of Zodiacal Dust completely open.