Cosmic dust is dust which exists in outer space. Most cosmic dust particles are between a few molecules to 0.1 µm in size. A smaller fraction of all dust in space consists of larger refractory minerals that condensed as matter left the stars. It is called “stardust” and is included in a separate section below. The dust density in the local interstellar medium of the Local Bubble is approximately 10−6 × dust grain/m3 with each grain having a mass of approximately 10−17 kg.
Cosmic dust can be further distinguished by its astronomical location: intergalactic dust, interstellar dust, interplanetary dust (such as in the zodiacal cloud) and circumplanetary dust (such as in a planetary ring). In the Solar System, interplanetary dust causes the zodiacal light. Sources of Solar System dust include comet dust, asteroidal dust, dust from the Kuiper belt, and interstellar dust passing through the Solar System. The terminology has no specific application for describing materials found on the planet Earth except for dust that has demonstrably fallen to Earth. By one estimate, as much as 40,000 tons of cosmic dust reaches the Earth’s surface every year. In October 2011, scientists reported that cosmic dust contains complex organic matter (“amorphous organic solids with a mixed aromatic–aliphatic structure”) that could be created naturally, and rapidly, by stars.
On August 14, 2014, scientists announced the collection of possible interstellar dust particles from the Stardust spacecraft since returning to Earth in 2006.
Cosmic dust, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cosmic_dust&oldid=713482589 (last visited May 15, 2016).
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