It is not known where the light is coming from.
REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA — Several papers published in Astronomy Journal and Astrophysics Journal Letter call there are more lights on solar system than what scientists know. The American Space Agency (NASA) isn’t sure why this is happening.
Reported from SYFY, Monday (19/12/2022), astronomers from the SKYSURF project explored 200,000 archival images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists and perform tens of thousands of observations to measure the light in the night sky.
They then looked one by one light source that they can see, such as the Sun, planets, moon, distant galaxies. Scientists then figure out how much light each of these objects emits.
Then, one by one, like blowing out a candle, the researchers reduced all the lights to see what was left, if any. When everything is counted and the scales are balanced, astronomers find what little light remains. That’s roughly the same amount of light as you would get from 10 fireflies, scattered across the night sky. Looks like light pollution.
At this time, it is not clear where this remnant light is coming from. However, astronomers have an idea. As a comet enters the inner solar system, following its orbit towards the closest approach to the Sun, bits of matter are ejected and eventually drift around the inner solar system.
Scientists propose that these tiny bits may have accumulated during the solar system’s lifetime, producing a wispy dust cloud centered around the Sun. Clouds are made up of pieces that are too small for us to see, but catch and reflect some of the light, resulting in a faint glow.
If validated, these findings will add an additional component to our understanding of star system formation and evolution. This finding would also explain most of the residual light astronomers observe, but not all of it.
Last year, astronomers used data from the New Horizons spacecraft to find a fainter but equally mysterious source of light. New Horizons has spent years exploring our distant solar system.
New Horizons visited Pluto in 2015 and a small Kuiper object in 2018. Throughout its journey, it caught ambient light at a distance of between 6 and 8 billion kilometers from the Sun.
At that distance, dust clouds from the proposed inner solar system would not affect it. However, New Horizons detected a faint trail of light, apparently from a more distant source, which also remains unexplained.
Astronomers have proposed a number of explanations including dark matter reactions and undiscovered galaxies. However, dust can also be a cause of light.