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Zodiacal Light

22 Mar 2021, 13:00 UTC
Zodiacal Light
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NASA dicit:
NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter has made an unexpected discovery about a different planet – Mars. Juno scientists discovered that Martian dust may be the source of a sky phenomenon known as the zodiacal light.
Look up to the night sky just before dawn, or after dusk, and you might see a faint column of light extending up from the horizon. That glow is the zodiacal light, or sunlight reflected toward Earth by a cloud of tiny dust particles orbiting the Sun.
Astronomers have long thought that the dust is brought into the inner solar system by asteroids and comets. But now, a team of Juno scientists argues that the planet Mars may be the source. The discovery resulted from dust particles slamming into the Juno spacecraft during its journey from Earth to Jupiter. Juno’s expansive solar panels unintentionally became the biggest and most sensitive dust detector ever built. Impacts on the solar panels provided important clues to the origin and orbital evolution of the dust, resolving some of the mysterious variations observed in the zodiacal light.
Video credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Dan Gallagher (USRA): Lead Producer/Michael Lentz (USRA): Lead Animator/Kel Elkins (USRA):Lead Data ...

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