Astronomers Discover Unexpected Rings Around Mercury

mercury rings
mercury rings
PC-NASA/JPL CALTECH/Space science institute

For the first time, researchers have spotted huge dust rings circumnavigating the Sun besides the orbits of Mercury and Venus.

The Solar System consists of only our star, a couple of planets, a few satellites, bunches of little asteroids and rocks, and a lot of dust. As space rocks collide and comets dissipate, remaining pieces are dispersed around space, and these particles get drawn into the planets’ orbits and later forms dust clouds – Earth’s even got its own garbage zone. Scientists hadn’t expected to see one along Mercury’s orbit, however.

“Individuals considered that Mercury, in contrast to Earth or Venus, is very small and excessively near the Sun to catch a dust ring,” said Russell Howard, an astrophysicist working for the US Naval Research Laboratory. “They anticipated that the solar wind and Sun’s magnetic forces would blow any excess dust at Mercury’s orbital path.”

Rather, Mercury is encompassed by a cover of dust extending 9.3 million miles in length. Regardless of the ring’s size, it wasn’t something researchers have considered much previously. Even though solar rockets like NASA’s Parker Solar Probe and the pair STEREO-A and STEREO-B have identified residues of dust, it’s commonly disregarded by researchers.

“The residue near the Sun just appears in our perceptions, and for the most part, we have discarded it,” said Howard. “Surrounding the Sun, irrespective of the rocket’s position, we could see the similar five percent increase in the brightness or density of the dust residue. That said something was there, and it’s something that widens all around the Sun.”

The aftereffects of the Mercury dust research were published in the scientific Astrophysical Journal.

In the interim, in a different report, Petr Pokorny and Marc Kuchner, both researchers working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, discovered the source of Venus’ ring. A group of space rocks that have never been seen before is the reason behind Venus’ dust ring.

Models demonstrated that it’s possible that around 10,000 space rocks once circled around Venus 4.5 billion years back, yet after some time, the consistent jostling crushed the population and just around 8 percent (800 space rocks) have made due to the present day. The research has been published in the scientific journal – The Astrophysical Journal.


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