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Title: Origin of meteoritic stardust unveiled by a revised proton-capture rate of 17O
Author: M. Lugaro, A. I. Karakas, C. G. Bruno, M. Aliotta, L. R. Nittler, D. Bemmerer, A. Best, A. Boeltzig, C. Broggini, A. Caciolli, F. Cavanna, G. F. Ciani, P. Corvisiero, T. Davinson, R. Depalo, A. Di Leva, Z. Elekes, F. Ferraro, A. Formicola, Zs. Flp, G. Gervino, A. Guglielmetti, C. Gustavino, Gy. Gyrky, G. Imbriani, M. Junker, R. Menegazzo, V. Mossa, F. R. Pantaleo, D. Piatti, P. Prati, D. A. Scott, O. Straniero, F. Strieder, T. Szcs, M. P. Takcs, D. Trezzi

Stardust grains recovered from meteorites provide high-precision snapshots of the isotopic composition of the stellar environment in which they formed. Attributing their origin to specific types of stars, however, often proves difficult. Intermediate-mass stars of 4-8 solar masses are expected to contribute a large fraction of meteoritic stardust. However, no grains have been found with characteristic isotopic compositions expected from such stars. This is a long-standing puzzle, which points to serious gaps in our understanding of the lifecycle of stars and dust in our Galaxy. Here we show that the increased proton-capture rate of 17O reported by a recent underground experiment leads to 17O/16O isotopic ratios that match those observed in a population of stardust grains, for proton-burning temperatures of 60-80 million K. These temperatures are indeed achieved at the base of the convective envelope during the late evolution of intermediate-mass stars of 4-8 solar masses, which reveals them as the most likely site of origin of the grains. This result provides the first direct evidence that these stars contributed to the dust inventory from which the Solar System formed.

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Title: Nanodust detection between 1 and 5 AU by using Cassini wave measurements
Author: P. Schippers, N. Meyer-Vernet, A. Lecacheux, S. Belheouane, M. Moncuquet, W.S. Kurth, I. Mann, D. G. Mitchell, N. Andr

The solar system contains solids of all sizes, ranging from km-size bodies to nano-sized particles. Nanograins have been detected in situ in the Earth's atmosphere, near cometary and giant planet environments, and more recently in the solar wind at 1 AU. These latter nano grains are thought to be formed in the inner solar system dust cloud, mainly through collisional break-up of larger grains and are then picked-up and accelerated by the magnetised solar wind because of their large charge-to-mass ratio. In the present paper, we analyse the low frequency bursty noise identified in the Cassini radio and plasma wave data during the spacecraft cruise phase inside Jupiter's orbit. The magnitude, spectral shape and waveform of this broadband noise is consistent with the signature of nano particles impinging at nearby the solar wind speed on the spacecraft surface. Nanoparticles were observed whenever the radio instrument was turned on and able to detect them, at different heliocentric distances between Earth and Jupiter, suggesting their ubiquitous presence in the heliosphere. We analysed the radial dependence of the nano dust flux with heliospheric distance and found that it is consistent with the dynamics of nano dust originating from the inner heliosphere and picked-up by the solar wind. The contribution of the nano dust produced in asteroid belt appears to be negligible compared to the trapping region in the inner heliosphere. In contrast, further out, nano dust are mainly produced by the volcanism of active moons such as Io and Enceladus.

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Zodiacal Light
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Title: A Spitzer IRAC Measure of the Zodiacal Light
Authors: Jessica E. Krick, William J. Glaccum, Sean J. Carey, Patrick J. Lowrance, Jason A. Surace, James G. Ingalls, Joseph L. Hora, William T. Reach

The dominant non-instrumental background source for space-based infrared observatories is the zodiacal light. We present Spitzer Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) measurements of the zodiacal light at 3.6, 4.5, 5.8, and 8.0 m, taken as part of the instrument calibrations. We measure the changing surface brightness levels in approximately weekly IRAC observations near the north ecliptic pole (NEP) over the period of roughly 8.5 years. This long time baseline is crucial for measuring the annual sinusoidal variation in the signal levels due to the tilt of the dust disk with respect to the ecliptic, which is the true signal of the zodiacal light. This is compared to both Cosmic Background Explorer Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment (COBE DIRBE) data and a zodiacal light model based thereon. Our data show a few percent discrepancy from the Kelsall et al. (1998) model including a potential warping of the interplanetary dust disk and a previously detected overdensity in the dust cloud directly behind the Earth in its orbit. Accurate knowledge of the zodiacal light is important for both extragalactic and Galactic astronomy including measurements of the cosmic infrared background, absolute measures of extended sources, and comparison to extrasolar interplanetary dust models. IRAC data can be used to further inform and test future zodiacal light models.

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Title: The distribution of interplanetary dust between 0.96 and 1.04 AU as inferred from impacts on the STEREO spacecraft observed by the Heliospheric Imagers
Authors: C. J. Davis, J. A. Davies, O. C St Cyr, M. Campbell-Brown, A. Skelt, M. Kaiser, Nicole Meyer-Vernet, S. Crothers, C. Lintott, A. Smith, S. Bamford, E. M. L. Baeten

The distribution of dust in the ecliptic plane between 0.96 and 1.04 AU has been inferred from impacts on the two STEREO spacecraft through observation of secondary particle trails and unexpected off-points in the Heliospheric Imager (HI) cameras. This study made use of analysis carried out by members of a distributed web-based project, Solar Stormwatch. A comparison between observations of the brightest particle trails and a survey of fainter trails shows consistent distributions. While there is no obvious correlation between this distribution and the occurrence of individual meteor streams at Earth, there are some broad longitudinal features in these distributions that are also observed in sources of the sporadic meteor population. The asymmetry in the number of trails seen by each spacecraft and the fact that there are many more unexpected off-points in the HI-B than in HI-A, indicates that the majority of impacts are coming from the apex direction. For impacts causing off-points in the HI-B camera these dust particles are estimated to have masses in excess of 10-17 kg with radii exceeding 0.1 {\mu}m. For off-points observed in the HI-A images, which can only have been caused by particles travelling from the anti-apex direction, the distribution is consistent with that of secondary 'storm' trails observed by HI-B, providing evidence that these trails also result from impacts with primary particles from an anti-apex source. It is apparent that the differential mass index of particles from the apex direction is consistently above 2. This indicates that the majority of the mass is within the smaller particles of this population. In contrast, the differential mass index of particles from the anti-apex direction (causing off-points in HI-A) is consistently below 2, indicating that the majority of the mass is to be found in larger particles of this distribution.

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Dust Models Paint Alien's View of Solar System

New supercomputer simulations tracking the interactions of thousands of dust grains show what the solar system might look like to alien astronomers searching for planets. The models also provide a glimpse of how this view might have changed as our planetary system matured.
The dust originates in the Kuiper Belt, a cold-storage zone beyond Neptune where millions of icy bodies -- including Pluto -- orbit the sun. Scientists believe the region is an older, leaner version of the debris disks they've seen around stars like Vega and Fomalhaut.

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Zodiacal light
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Zodiacal light: zombie comets to blame

The zodiacal dust forms a vast, diffuse cloud that extends all the way from the sun to beyond the orbit of Mars (see diagram). It is densest in the orbital plane of the Earth and the other inner planets, but as the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) telescope revealed in the 1980s, it is also fluffed up for tens of millions of kilometres on either side.
This dust can't just be stuff left over from the creation of the solar system. Dust grains would orbit the sun indefinitely like minuscule planets, were it not for a peculiar force called Poynting-Robertson drag. As a dust grain zooms along, it ploughs through the stream of sunlight that pervades the solar system. This slight photon headwind gradually robs the grain of its angular momentum, making it spiral slowly inwards.

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Cosmic 'dandruff' may have brought carbon to Earth

Fluffy specks of carbon-rich dust found in Antarctic snow seem to be relics from the dawn of the solar system, when the planets were still forming. The cosmic dandruff could help explain how the carbon needed for life wound up on Earth.
Researchers led by Jean Duprat of the University of Paris-South in Orsay, France, melted Antarctic snow and filtered particles from the resulting water, turning up two extraterrestrial dust particles.
The particles are relatively large, at 80 and 275 micrometres across. They also carry a lot of deuterium, a heavy isotope of hydrogen: they have 10 to 30 times as much as typical terrestrial materials.
At cold temperatures, deuterium atoms are incorporated into solid materials more readily than hydrogen atoms are, suggesting the particles formed in the frigid outer reaches of the cloud of gas and dust that gave rise to our solar system.

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Zodiacal Light
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Source of zodiac glow identified

The eerie glow that straddles the night time zodiac in the eastern sky is no longer a mystery. First explained by Joshua Childrey in 1661 as sunlight scattered in our direction by dust particles in the solar system, the source of that dust was long debated. In a paper to appear in the April 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal, David Nesvorny and Peter Jenniskens put the stake in asteroids. More than 85 percent of the dust, they conclude, originated from Jupiter Family comets, not asteroids.
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Interplanetary dust particles
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"Ultra-Primitive" Particles Found in Comet Dust
Dust samples collected by high-flying aircraft in the upper atmosphere have yielded an unexpectedly rich trove of relicts from the ancient cosmos, report scientists from the Carnegie Institution. The stratospheric dust includes minute grains that likely formed inside stars that lived and died long before the birth of our sun, as well as material from molecular clouds in interstellar space. This "ultra-primitive" material likely wafted into the atmosphere after the Earth passed through the trail of an Earth-crossing comet in 2003, giving scientists a rare opportunity to study cometary dust in the laboratory.
At high altitudes, most dust in the atmosphere comes from space, rather than the Earth's surface. Thousands of tons of interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) enter the atmosphere each year.

"We've known that many IDPs come from comets, but we've never been able to definitively tie a single IDP to a particular comet. The only known cometary samples we've studied in the laboratory are those that were returned from comet 81P/Wild 2 by the Stardust mission" - study coauthor Larry Nittler, of Carnegie's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism.

The Stardust mission used a NASA-launched spacecraft to collect samples of comet dust, returning to Earth in 2006.

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Title: Ultra-primitive interplanetary dust particles from the comet 26P/Grigg-Skjellerup dust stream collection
Authors: Henner Busemann, George D. Cody, Peter Hoppe, A.L. David Kilcoyne, Rhonda M. Stroud, Thomas J. Zega and Larry R. Nittler

Cometary material and pristine interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) best resemble the unaltered components from which our solar system was built because they have remained largely unaltered in a cold undisturbed environment since accretion in the outer protoplanetary disk. IDPs might supply more primitive assemblages for laboratory analysis than Stardust samples from comet 81P/Wild 2 but their individual provenances are typically unknown. We speculate that some IDPs collected by NASA in April 2003 may be associated with comet 26P/Grigg-Skjellerup because their particularly pristine character coincides with the collection period that was predicted to show an enhanced flux of particles from this Jupiter-family comet. Some IDPs from this collection contain the most primitive assembly of interstellar matter found to date including an unusually high abundance of presolar grains and very isotopically anomalous and disordered organic matter as well as fine-grained carbonates and an amphibole associated with a GEMS-like object (glass with embedded metals and sulfides) that potentially imply formation in a nebular rather than planetary environment. The two most primitive IDPs may contain assemblages of molecular cloud material at the percent level which is supported by the presence of four rare 17O-depleted presolar silicate grains possibly of supernova(e) origin within one ~ 70 m-sized IDP and the close association of a Group 1 Mg-rich olivine from a low-mass red giant star with a carbonaceous nano-globule of potentially interstellar origin. Our study together with observations of comet 9P/Tempel 1 during the Deep Impact experiment and 81P/Wild 2 dust analyses reveal some compositional variations and many similarities among three Jupiter-family comets. Specifically carbonates and primitive organic matter or amorphous carbon were widespread in the comet-forming regions of the outer protoplanetary disk and not all comets contain as much inner solar system material as has been inferred for comet 81P/Wild 2. The bulk and hotspot hydrogen and nitrogen isotopic anomalies as well as the carbon Raman characteristics of the organic matter in IDPs and the most primitive meteorites are remarkably similar. This implies that the same mixture of molecular cloud material had been transported inward into the meteorite-forming regions of the solar system.

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Primitive dust samples provide pre-solar time-capsules

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