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Apr 19, 2018 - Science and innovations
FEFU astrophysics: comet dust study can tell about the evolution of the Solar System

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Space dust has been the subject of studies of postgraduate students of Far East Federal University (FEFU). Young astrophysicists Anton Kochergin and Ekaterina Chornaya under the supervision of Eugenia Zubko, the lead researcher of the  School of Natural Sciences (SNS), are studying the principles of movement and heat emission of the smallest particles in space. The research will allow us to learn about the evolution of the Solar System and better understand the features of its origin.

The FEFU researchers investigate interaction of electromagnetic radiation (sunlight) with space materials. According Eugene Zubko, the results of the postgraduate students will allow one to review several assumptions, established in comet physics, and better understand the origin of the Solar System and its features.

Thus, for more than 20 years there exists the belief based on approximate calculations, that space silicate particles (dust) in the size of more than 1 micron do not produce so-called 10-micron emission feature (strengthening of heat emission on wavelengths about 10 microns), that is to say, there is no allot of heat that is observed in the infrared spectra of comets. Recent laboratory experiments of the FEFU postgraduate Ekaterina Chornaya showed that, despite the expectations, particles do emit heat. On the basis of the received data, the FEFU researchers are preparing the article to be published in the international scientific journal.

“Studying the cosmic dust, in particular, the comet one, we get answers to questions about how the Solar System was formed. Comets are quite old objects even by cosmic standards. Judging by the set of gases and ice, which comets consist of, they were formed at the time of the birth of the Solar System. This is a fundamental research area that many research groups around the world are engaged in,” said Eugene Zubko.