Fast Dust in the Heliosphere

  • E. Grün
  • M. Landgraf
Conference paper
Part of the Space Sciences Series of ISSI book series (SSSI, volume 13)


The dynamics of dust particles in the solar system is dominated by solar gravity, by solar radiation pressure, or by electromagnetic interaction of charged dust grains with the interplanetary magnetic field. For micron-sized or bigger dust particles solar gravity leads to speeds of about 30 to 40 km s−1 at the Earth’s distance. Smaller particles that are generated close to the Sun and for which radiation pressure is dominant (the ratio of radiation pressure force over gravity F rad/F grav is generally termed β) are driven out of the solar system on hyperbolic orbits. Such a flow of β-meteoroids has been observed by the Pioneer 8, 9 and Ulysses spaceprobes. Dust particles in interplanetary space are electrically charged to typically +5 V by the photo effect from solar UV radiation. The dust detector on Cassini for the first time measured the dust charge directly. The dynamics of dust particles smaller than about 0.1 μm is dominated by the electromagnetic interaction with the ambient magnetic field. Effects of the solar wind magnetic field on interstellar grains passing through the solar system have been observed. Nanometer sized dust stream particles have been found which were accelerated by Jupiter’s magnetic field to speeds of about 300 km s−1.


Solar System Dust Particle Radiation Pressure Interplanetary Space Solar Radiation Pressure 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Grün
    • 1
  • M. Landgraf
    • 2
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für KernphysikHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.ESA/ESOCDarmstadtGermany

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