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Interplanetary dust clouds orbit Earth, Hungarian scientists confirm



A team of Hungarian astronomers and physicists may have finally confirmed two clouds of interplanetary dust in orbit around the Earth that were reported for the first time in 1961.

There are five points of stability in the Earth-Moon system where gravitational forces hold objects in place. Scientists call these "Lagrange points" and are numbered from L1 to L5. In 1961, the Polish astronomer Kazimierz Kordylewski claimed to have taken photos of dust that formed two patches of clouds on L4 and L5. Astronomers now call these clouds Kordylewski.

But since dust clouds are so weak, some scientists still argue whether they really exist, according to a statement, but a team of Hungarian scientists says they are now sure to have confirmed the existence of these clouds with new observations

"We are sure that the cloud of dust from Kordylewski exists at the Lagrange L5 point of the Earth-Moon system", said in an email the author of the main study Gábor Horváth of Eötvös Loránd University. "The polarization characteristics detected can not be explained by other optical phenomena."

At the start of this year, the team, which includes Judit Slíz-Balogh from Eötvös Loránd University and András Barta, modeled these clouds to assess how they could be formed and how they could be better identified. .

The team then used linear polarizing filters connected to a photographic lens and a sensitive photon detector at the Slíz-Balogh private observatory to perform exposures on the expected position of the L5 cloud. The cloud is not very bright, but is measurably measured, according to Slíz-Balogh. And that's how the research team claims to be able to capture it.

"Many astronomers believe that these clouds of dust do not exist," said Horváth. They assume that the sun, the solar wind and other planets can destroy the orbit of the dust cloud.

However, Horváth continued, with these new observations, "the only explanation remains the polarized dispersion of sunlight on the particles gathered around point L5".

This work appears in two new articles in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society : here and here.

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