5 months ago
Hungarian astronomers and physicists say they have finally confirmed the existence of two Earth-orbiting “moons” made entirely out of dust after more than half a century of speculation and controversy.
The team managed to grab snapshots of the mysterious clouds lurking only 250,000 miles away, which is about the same distance as the moon. Researchers previously inferred the presence of some sort of natural companions to Earth, but the dust clouds weren’t seen until 1961. But even after they were spotted by Polish astronomer Kazimierz Kordylewski, their presence was questioned.
“The Kordylewski clouds are two of the toughest objects to find, and though they are as close to Earth as the moon, are largely overlooked by researchers in astronomy,” says study coauthor Judit Slíz-Balogh, an astronomer at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, according to National Geographic. “It is intriguing to confirm that our planet has dusty pseudo-satellites in orbit alongside our lunar neighbor.”
Study coauthor Gábor Horváth, a physicist at Eötvös Loránd University, said that the investigation into the dynamics of these clouds may “very well end up being most important from the point of view of space navigation safety.”