NASA Scientists Find Dust Rings in the Inner Solar System

NASA Scientists Find Dust Rings in the Inner Solar System

NASA new study has discovered dust rings in the inner solar system. The dust contains crushed-up remains from the formation of the solar system, some 4.6 billion years ago — rubble from asteroid collisions or crumbs from blazing comets.

NASA has realized two studies; one study uses NASA data to outline evidence for a dust ring around the Sun at Mercury’s orbit. A second study from NASA finds the likely source of the dust ring at Venus’ orbit.

NASA Scientists Find Dust Rings in the Inner Solar System
In this illustration, several dust rings circle the Sun_image credit_NASA

According to NASA [Dust is dispersed throughout the entire solar system, but it collects at grainy rings overlying the orbits of Earth and Venus, rings that can be seen with telescopes on Earth. By studying this dust — what it’s made of, where it comes from, and how it moves through space — scientists seek clues to understanding the birth of planets and the composition of all that we see in the solar system].

“It’s not every day you get to discover something new in the inner solar system,” said Marc Kuchner, an author on the Venus study and astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “This is right in our neighborhood.”

Guillermo Stenborg and Russell Howard, both solar scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory did not set out to find a dust ring. “We found it by chance,” Stenborg said, laughing. The scientists summarized their findings in a paper published in The Astrophysical Journal on Nov. 21, 2018.

They discovered the dust ring over Mercury’s orbit when looking for evidence of a dust-free zone close to the Sun, forming a ring some 9.3 million miles wide.

“It wasn’t an isolated thing,” Howard said. “All around the Sun, regardless of the spacecraft’s position, we could see the same five percent increase in dust brightness, or density. That said something was there, and it’s something that extends all around the Sun.”

Source: NASA

Image credit; NASA