Talk about powder bunnies you can not get rid of.
A new study could finally confirm the reality of the dust clouds that surrounded the Earth, after scientists have had heated debates on their existence for more than 50 years.
The clouds were first identified by the Polish astronomer Kazimierz Kordylewski in 1961, near the L5 Lagrange point, according to Space.com. Lagrange points are five points in deep space where the gravitational pull between the Earth and the Moon is balanced against each other, explains Space.com. Two of these, L4 and the aforementioned L5, form "a triangle on equal sides" with the Earth and the Moon and move around the Earth as the Moon crosses its lunar orbit.
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"The L4 and L5 are not completely stable, as they are disturbed by the gravitational pull of the Sun," the researchers said in a statement. "Nevertheless, they are thought to be places where interplanetary dust could collect, at least temporarily." Kordylewski observed two powders close to L5 in 1961, with various reports since then, but their extreme weakness makes them difficult to detect and many scientists doubted their existence. "
One of the authors of the study, Judit Slíz-Balogh, said that the clouds are hard to find, despite being close to our planet, in cosmic terms.
"The clouds of Kordylewski are two of the most difficult objects to find, and although they are so close to Earth as the Moon is largely overlooked by astronomy researchers," said Slíz-Balogh in the statement. "It is intriguing to confirm that our planet has dusty pseudo-satellites in orbit next to our lunar neighbor."
The triangular points of Lagrange were discovered in 1772, according to the study's abstract.
Because of how weak they are, they need certain weather conditions to prove they exist, Gábor Horváth, co-author of the study, told Space.com. But Horváth and Slíz-Balogh developed computer models to see if they reflected light and saw how they were formed, which eventually led them to confirm their existence.
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Noting that few models have studied the Kordylewski dust cloud, the researchers said they filled the void by investigating "a four-dimensional three-dimensional problem consisting of the Sun, Earth, Moon and a test particle, 1 860 000 times apart. the size and shape of the conglomerate of particles that have not escaped from the system before an integration time of 3650 d around L5. "
Researchers must study dust clouds to see if they present "any kind of threat to equipment and future astronauts".
Over time, the researchers claimed to believe that the L4 and L5 points could be "potential sites to orbit in space probes and as transfer stations for missions that explore the solar system in general", as well as being places where deposit pollutants.
Even in space, people are still trying to sweep the dust under the carpet.
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