Ancient Dust In Remote Galaxy Ties Us To Our Cosmic Beginnings

To make planets and people you need dust. That’s what we’re made of. Dust. But mixed and tended in ways so remarkable our bodies give that dust passion and voice. Dust comes from aging and exploding stars. Supernovae are the most spectacular but not the only dust-makers. As stars like our sun age, they puff…
Read More

Heavenly Ho Ho Ho! From A Cosmic Santa Claus

If you look closely, you might be able to picture the face of Santa Claus in these festive pink clouds. You’re seeing two overlapping glowing nebulas called NGC 248 in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), a small galaxy that orbits the Milky Way like a planet orbit the sun. Intense radiation from hot young stars in the center…
Read More

Jupiter Joins The Zodiacal Light Before Dawn

To calm my mind on Election Day morning, I took off before dawn for Lake Superior. Just a quick hop to a beach 10 minutes from home. There along the silent shore stood a slanted feather of comet dust dotted by the bright planet Jupiter. Winds were light, so Jupiter left a gleam line on…
Read More

Meet Kenneth And Juliette, The Comet Carbon Duo

Most of us really don’t care for dust. It’s something to blow off, swipe away with your hand or vacuum up. But dust is where it’s at when it comes to Rosetta’s Comet. By studying what’s in the tiny particles that vaporize off the comet, scientists have made a marvelous discovery. Two particles, playfully named…
Read More

Asteroid Griseldis Grows A Tail!

Many if not all the meteorites found on Earth came from collisions between asteroids. Asteroids with diameters of around 12 miles (20 km) suffer a strike from another body once every 10 million years on average. If the crackup happens at high speed, the asteroid shatters to pieces with rocks and dust blasted into space to form…
Read More