On Earth, when light is visible in the sky just before sunrise,
or just after sunset, it is caused by grains of dust in space that scatter the sunlight, making it what astronomers refer to as zodiacal light.
For the first time, researchers have seen this phenomenon occurring in exoplanets located close to the habitable zone of several other solar systems.
When light from other stars is scattered by grains of dust from asteroids and comets in space, it is called exozodiacal light.
This is the first large scale study of it being observed systematically on several planets.
Observations were conducted using the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, or ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer located in Chile.
Steve Ertel, lead author of the study is quoted as saying: “If we want to study the evolution of Earth-like planets close to the habitable zone, we need to observe the zodiacal dust in this region around other stars.”
The exozodiacal light that was observed is reportedly a thousand times brighter than zodiacal light, which might make it more difficult for experts to detect Earth-like exoplanets.
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