13 Mar 2015
Sunlight reflecting off cosmic dust particles creates an effect known as “zodiacal light.”
Every day, bits of outer space rain down on the Earth.
Leftover from our solar system’s birth 4.6 billion years ago, cosmic dust is pulled into our atmosphere as the planet passes through decayed comet tails and other regions of chunky space rock. Occasionally, it arrives on Earth in the form of visible shooting stars.
But the amount of space dust that Earth accumulates is maddeningly difficult to determine. Some measures taken from spacecraft solar panels, polar ice cores, and meteoric smoke have attempted an answer, but the estimates vary widely, from 0.4 to 110 tons per day.
But a new paper claims to have narrowed that range. Here’s Mary Beth Griggs, writing for Popular Science:
[A] recent paper took a closer look at the levels of sodium and iron in…
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