Caused by sunlight scattered by space dust in the zodiacal cloud, it is so faint that either moonlight or light pollution renders it invisible.
The dust forms a thick pancake-shaped cloud in the Solar System collectively known as the zodiacal cloud, which occupies the same plane as the ecliptic.
Regardless of the sources, the diffuse zodiacal cloud
has a total mass of perhaps [10.
The dusty disk, also called the zodiacal cloud
, radiates from near the sun out beyond the orbit of Mars, toward Jupiter.
They estimate that there must be some 20 trillion tons of dust in the zodiacal cloud
(twice the mass of the Martian moon Phobos), and that 100 000 tons of the stuff falls to Earth every year
These stars are more than 1 billion years old, an age by which the Sun's debris disk already looked much like today's tenuous zodiacal cloud
said: "This is the first fully dynamical model of the zodiacal cloud
With seven of its 40 chapters devoted to comets, cometary dynamics, the Kuiper Belt, asteroids, near-Earth asteroids, interplanetary dust and the zodiacal cloud
, and meteorites, Encyclopedia of the Solar System pays greater respect to the solar system's small objects than one might naively expect.