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Space is a Dusty Place

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Every year, 5,200 tons of extraterrestrial dust fall to Earth. This gentle rain of bits of comets and asteroids far outweighs larger meteorites that hit the planet, according to research to be published April 15 in the journal Earth & Planetary Science Letters. Only about 10 tons (9 metric tons) of larger space rocks land on Earth annually. Despite the large quantities, it’s hard to detect space dust or track its annual accumulation in most places due to precipitation that washes dust away. And in most places, dust originating on Earth swamps dust from space. But in Adélie Land, Antarctica, … Read more

SPACE: That’s One Dusty Galaxy You Have There

space dust

Astronomers hate dust as much as the rest of us ― even more, perhaps. It’s one thing to get a little dust in your eye that takes your vision out of focus. Now imagine this kind of dust problem on a galactic scale where it hinders scientists trying to focus their telescopes into space. That’s part of the challenge faced by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, reports They’re creating an instrument that will offer specific information on how fast the universe is growing. This device ― the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument ― will create a … Read more