A flood of interstellar dust is breaching the sun's weakened magnetic shield and drifting into the solar system, according to European astronomers.
The interstellar dust particles measure about one-hundredth the diameter of a human hair. The bits are thought to supply the building blocks of all solid bodies in the galaxy, including the planets and humans.
"All atoms in Earth were in interstellar grains before the solar system formed," said Donald Brownlee, an astronomer at the University of Washington in Seattle. The dust is believed to be composed of heavy elements such as carbon, magnesium, iron, and calcium.
The dust grains pose no serious threat to the planets. But they could chip away at the solar panels on spacecraft, causing a gradual loss of power, and knock particles off asteroids, filling the solar system with even more dust. On Earth, stargazers may observe a greater number of shooting stars.
"There has always been...... Stardust. Now we know some of the mystery...."I
"In the late 1920s, the world was listening and dancing to a melody that became known as "The Song of The Century." It was written and performed by a little known jazz songwriter/singer, Hoagy Carmichael.
The song's title? "Stardust" ... It went something like this..... "Sometimes I wonder why I spend the lonely night -- Dreaming of a song. The melody haunts my reverie, And I am once again with you. -- When our love was new, and each kiss an inspiration, but that was long ago ...Now my consolation is in the stardust of a song."
It's as if we have always anticipated actually seeing and touching stardust for many decades. Even the word conveys romance and the fantasy of gazing at the night sky, stars twinkling with the hope of being 'touched' by stardust."