scientists have found strange "dust moons" around the earth that track our planet from afar. In this picture the central area of the Kordylewski dust cloud is visible (bright red pixels). The straight inclined lines are traces of satellites. The white L5 point is the Lagrange point of the Earth and the Moon L5.
Photo credits: J. Slíz-Balogh
Dust clouds, orbiting the earth like moons, may have confirmed their existence after more than half a century of controversy, new research.
There are five points in outer space that balance Earth's gravity and the Moon. Two of these so-called Lagrange points, L4 and L5, form an equilateral triangle with Earth and Moon, moving around the Earth as the Moon orbits the planet. All objects on L4 or L5 may be in relatively stable locations, about 234,000 kilometers (384,000 kilometers) from both the Earth and the Moon, preventing any influence from the force of attraction of the Sun and other bodies.
There may be incidents between Lagrange points other body pairs and earlier research found more than a million asteroids at the points Sun-Jupiter L4 and L5 and the asteroid 201
0 TK7 at the point Sun-Earth L4. Earlier work also suggested that at the point Earth Moon L5 two dust clouds could exist, of which the Polish astronomer Kazimierz Kordylewski was first reported and named in 1961. [Earth Quiz: Do You Really Know Your Planet?]
Now the researchers claim that they could have finally confirmed this pair of dust clouds is real. The scientists presented their findings in two online studies on September 1 and October 1 in the Monthly Notices journal of the Royal Astronomical Society