Related topics: stars · star formation

Newly discovered carbon may yield clues to ancient Mars

NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars on Aug. 6, 2012, and since then has roamed Gale Crater taking samples and sending the results back home for researchers to interpret. Analysis of carbon isotopes in sediment samples taken ...

Cosmic dust may be key source of phosphorus for life on Earth

When Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago, any phosphorus that was present likely sank into the molten core because of the element's distinct chemical properties. However, phosphorus is essential for life; it is found in DNA, ...

Exploring the source of stars and planets in a laboratory

A new method for verifying a widely held but unproven theoretical explanation of the formation of stars and planets has been proposed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory ...

Stellar explosion in Earth's proximity

When the brightness of the star Betelgeuse dropped dramatically a few months ago, some observers suspected an impending supernova—a stellar explosion that could also cause damage on Earth. While Betelgeuse has returned ...

Making simulated cosmic dust—in the microwave

Cosmic dust is the key to the chemical evolution of stars, planets, and life itself, but its composition is not well understood, and we can't currently collect samples for analysis. A few examples have arrived on Earth as ...

Making planets in a rocket

How are celestial bodies created? Aside from philosophical questions, researchers are taking practical steps to investigate the very first moments when planets are born—on a sounding rocket launching from Sweden next week.

132 grams to communicate with Mars

Dust storms, ionising cosmic radiation, extreme cold at night ... Mars is not very hospitable! It's for these extreme conditions that the research team of Christophe Craeye, a professor at the UCLouvain Louvain School of ...

A dusty lab in the sky

Joe Nuth loves dust. Among astronomers, that puts him in a minority.

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Cosmic dust

Cosmic dust is a type of dust composed of particles in space which are a few molecules to 0.1 mm in size. Cosmic dust can be further distinguished by its astronomical location; for example: intergalactic dust, interstellar dust (potentially concentrated in a nebula), interplanetary dust (such as in a circumstellar disk) and circumplanetary dust (such as in a planetary ring).

In our own Solar System, interplanetary dust causes the zodiacal light. Sources include comet dust, asteroidal dust, dust from the Kuiper belt, and interstellar dust passing through our solar system.

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