The Zodiacal Light Mysteryby@serviss

The Zodiacal Light Mystery

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There is a singular phenomenon in the sky—one of the most puzzling of all—which has long arrested the attention of astronomers, defying their efforts at explanation, but which probably not one in a hundred, and possibly not one in a thousand, of the readers of this book has ever seen. Yet its name is often spoken, and it is a conspicuous object if one knows when and where to look for it, and when well seen it exhibits a mystical beauty which at the same time charms and awes the beholder. It is called “The Zodiacal Light,” because it lies within the broad circle of the Zodiac, marking the sun’s apparent annual path through the stars. What it is nobody has yet been able to find out with certainty, and books on astronomy usually speak of it with singular reserve. But it has given rise to many remarkable theories, and a true explanation of it would probably throw light on a great many other celestial mysteries. The Milky Way is a more wonderful object to look upon, but its nature can be comprehended, while there is a sort of uncanniness about the Zodiacal Light which immediately impresses one upon seeing it, for its part in the great scheme of extra-terrestrial affairs is not evident.
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