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Deflection of the Local Interstellar Dust Flow by Solar Radiation Pressure

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Science  17 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5448, pp. 2319-2322
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5448.2319

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Abstract

Interstellar dust grains intercepted by the dust detectors on the Ulysses and Galileo spacecrafts at heliocentric distances from 2 to 4 astronomical units show a deficit of grains with masses from 1 × 10–17 to 3 × 10–16 kilograms relative to grains intercepted outside 4 astronomical units. To divert grains out of the 2– to 4–astronomical unit region, the solar radiation pressure must be 1.4 to 1.8 times the force of solar gravity. These figures are consistent with the optical properties of spherical or elongated grains that consist of astronomical silicates or organic refractory material. Pure graphite grains with diameters of 0.2 to 0.4 micrometer experience a solar radiation pressure force as much as twice the force of solar gravity.

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