Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A faint glowing spot in the sky, exactly opposite the position of the sun. Also called counterglow.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A faint brightening of the night sky in the region of the ecliptic directly opposite the Sun.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A faint patch of light in the night sky that appears opposite the sun; a reflection of sunlight by micrometeoric material in space.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The large, faintly luminous patch on the ecliptic opposite to the sun, supposed to be apart of the zodiacal light.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a faint spot of light in the night sky that appears directly opposite the position of the sun; a reflection of sunlight by micrometeoric material in space

Etymologies

German : gegen, against (from Middle High German, from Old High German gegin) + Schein, light (from Middle High German schīn, from Old High German scīn, from scīnan, to shine).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
German Gegenschein ("counter-shine"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Penelope is a mystic feline,
    And sees things only she can divine.
    By day she's in thrall
    To shapes in the wall,
    At night to the glow of gegenschein.

    August 6, 2014

  • a sunbeam's counter-shadow

    June 11, 2012

  • The glow of the Sun in the opposite direction from the sun's location. At night, the glow is known as the gegenschein (German for "counter glow"), and can be seen as a faint glow in an extremely dark sky. It is actually sunlight backscattered off small dust particles. During daytime, a phenomenon similar to the gegenschien called the glory can be seen from an airplane in clouds opposite the Sun. (From NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day, June 25, 1999.)

    May 8, 2007