Related topics: stars · star formation

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.

Image: Hubble snaps a galactic potpourri of particles

Every now and then, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope glimpses a common object—say, a spiral galaxy—in an interesting or unusual way. A sharply angled perspective, such as the one shown in this Hubble image, can make ...

New 3-D map will help solve long-standing cosmic mysteries

A new study led by ANU has created a 3D map of the magnetic field in a small wedge of the Milky Way galaxy, paving the way for future discoveries that will improve our understanding of the origin and evolution of the Universe.

Cosmic dust forms in supernovae blasts

Scientists claim to have solved a longstanding mystery as to how cosmic dust, the building blocks of stars and planets, forms across the Universe.

Cosmic 'dustpedias' could reveal new types of galaxy

Measuring the vast quantities of cosmic dust in interstellar space may be a key to unlocking various mysteries of the cosmos, including how the grains form and whether new types of galaxy are obscured by the particle clouds.

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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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