Questions tagged [dust]

Questions about particulate matter found between stars, not to be confused with gas or ionised plasma. For planetary dust storms, use [dust-storm].

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8
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1answer
681 views

What is the origin of the dust near the sun?

note: Solar Probe+ is now officially Parker Solar Probe In https://space.stackexchange.com/q/17498/12102 I asked about the Solar Probe Plus mission. Reading a 2008 report I saw that there is an ...
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2answers
195 views

V838 Monocerotis "light-echo" images morphed into nice video, but why so few original images?

This NYTimes video shows what I think is a series of real Hubble images which have been "morphed" artistically to appear to be continuously expanding. (also see The V838 Monocerotis Star Still Has ...
2
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1answer
230 views

Why weren't the Hubble light-echo images of V838 Monocerotis supplemented by ground telescopes?

Drawing from this answer to V838 Monocerotis “light-echo” images morphed into nice video, but why so few original images? The V838 Monocerotis expansion (not a supernova) and the observation of the ...
6
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1answer
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What cluster of stars is this with a "dark donut" to one side?

In the 2011 Sixty Symbols video Spy Satellites (from Deep Sky Videos) after about 01:44 amateur astrophotographer Nik Szymanek shows an image of a cluster of stars ...
12
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1answer
987 views

How did they make a video of the center of the galaxy, and what is it exactly that's flashing there?

The ESA video ESOcast 173: First Successful Test of Einstein’s General Relativity Near Supermassive Black Hole includes a clip of images of stars at the center of our galaxy orbiting around SgrA*, a ...
6
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1answer
294 views

What is the physics of the "spinning dust" contribution to Cosmic Microwave Background measurements?

The lengthy paper Nine-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Final Maps and Results mentions "spinning dust" about 51 times. It is a potential contributor to the measured ...
3
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1answer
207 views

Why doesn't the equipartition theorem disallow spinning dust?

This excellent answer to the question What is the physics of the “spinning dust” contribution to Cosmic Microwave Background measurements? Is well sourced. The abstract of one of the papers there, ...
0
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1answer
113 views

Has "GHz-spinning dust" ever been demonstrated in the laboratory?

This excellent answer to the question What is the physics of the “spinning dust” contribution to Cosmic Microwave Background measurements? includes the figure below which helps show what it was the ...
38
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2answers
6k views

How can comets have tails if there's no air resistance in space?

I understand that solar radiation causes material to vaporize out of a comet into dust but why does the dust then trail behind the comet like a "tail"? Assuming gravity is the only applied force ...
11
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1answer
339 views

Was the "green star" event in NGC 3314 ever figured out or named?

from NGC 3314 Variable Object by By Bill Keel (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa) and Lisa Frattare (Hubble Heritage Project, STScI). The object in question is circled. Comments below this answer led ...
7
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1answer
285 views

How does V838 Monocerotis look today? Any subsequent light echo images, or is the party over?

This answer to the question V838 Monocerotis “light-echo” images morphed into nice video, but why so few original images? contains the following information below. There are other answers and more ...
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0answers
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Why does titanium oxide around Betelgeuse produce this particular sawtooth-shaped absorption spectrum?

Betelgeuse Just Isn’t That Cool: Effective Temperature Alone Cannot Explain the Recent Dimming of Betelgeuse suggests that the recent dimming might be caused by increased optical absorption by dust ...
3
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1answer
160 views

Why is the "green" comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) red in this picture?

In this nice NYTimes 'survey article' "Our Vast Solar System and Its Many Explorers" there is a NEOWISE image of Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy). See here also. The NASA description of the image says: ...
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2answers
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What direct or indirect observations of dust can one make by eye or with binoculars?

The solar system and space in general has plenty of dust, and dust has major impacts on observing both visually and in radio astronomy. If I wanted to "see dust" in space, or see its effects, using ...
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2answers
925 views

How do astronomers estimate the total mass of dust in clouds and galaxies?

As I understand it astronomers estimate the mass of stars by studying the orbits of their companions (other stars or planets). This helps them to derive relationships between the luminosities and ...
16
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3answers
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What is the difference between gas and dust in astronomy?

Is there a strict difference between gas and dust? In Earthly environment most things become gaseous if heated enough. The temperature of interstellar medium seems to range mostly between 10 and 10 ...
13
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1answer
446 views

What is the predominant element in the dust of the Sombrero Galaxy?

The Sombrero Galaxy contains a rather peculiar ring of dust orbiting it (seen as the dark ring on the outer edge). What is the prevalent element in this dust? Carbon?
12
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2answers
271 views

How far apart is the dust in the Sombrero Galaxy's dust lane?

In his answer to this question, TildalWave made this remark: I think that first, we have to properly appreciate the size of the Sombrero Galaxy. It is roughly 50,000 light years (15 kilo parsecs) ...
8
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1answer
372 views

Could rocks from Earth have reached the Kuiper belt, or Neptune at least? If so, how?

This answer (currently edit 3) to How certain are we that we have not sent life to other planets/moons? begins: First of all, rocks from Earth are probably just about everywhere in the Solar System. ...
8
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1answer
163 views

Why is there free magnesium in the ecliptic (if there is) and why would some be orbiting within the ecliptic plane but retrograde?

This answer to the question What direct or indirect observations of dust can one make by eye or with binoculars? mentions Brian May's thesis and it's connection to Zodical Light: Brian May (CBE): In ...
4
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1answer
206 views

How many solar system objects that can really qualify as a KBO are likely to enter Pluto's Hill sphere each day?

A comment below Which celestial body is able to come closest to Pluto? says that Technically, many, many small Kuiper belt objects enter Pluto's Hill Sphere (or sphere of influence SOI) every day. ...
3
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1answer
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Tongue-in-cheek quote on dust extinction

I remember hearing a quote or maybe rather an anecdote about a famous astronomer but I can't recall the exact wording and I also forgot who allegedly said it. Unfortunately, that has thwarted all my ...
2
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1answer
293 views

Is Earth losing orbit? [duplicate]

Is the Earth losing or gaining distance from the sun overall? Could asteroids over time add weight to the Earth and push it farther from the sun more than having a degrading orbit around the sun? Does ...