Dust in the Wind

 How much do you know about astronomy?

Today we have challenging questions about interplanetary dust based on the IMG_3761article “Interplanetary Dust” by Roy Bishop in the Observer’s Handbook 2019.

I created five questions that could be answered without reading this chapter.

You have up to five minutes to complete the challenge today.

Begin now. Do your best.

  1. The cloud of interplanetary dust in the inner solar system extends out past the orbit of what planet?


  1. The total mass of the cloud of interplanetary dust in our solar system is as if the moons of one particular planet were pulverized and spread around. Which planet’s moons?
Screen Shot 2019-03-24 at 9.32.41 AM
A Piece of Interplanetary Dust Credit: NASA
  1. An interplanetary dust particle lasts about 1o,000 years, so new material must be added for the cloud to still exist. From where do astrophysicists think this renewal material is coming?


  1. For an observer on Earth, what’s the most noticeable aspect of the dust cloud?


  1. On March 21, Northern observers may be able to see sunlight reflect off particles less than a millimeter in diameter. What is this light called?


OK, pencils down. Scroll down for directions for checking your answers.

Please read directions below:

Step 1: Please contribute to one of these charities linked below. If you are a winner and contribute, please ask recipient to notify me of the amount so I might match the first $100.

  1. Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Researchfullsizeoutput_13f0


Click on “Get Involved”

  1. Guilford County Animal Shelter


Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 10.09.28 AM              Look under “Donate to the Animal Shelter.”

  1. Guilford Senior ResourcesScreen Shot 2018-06-25 at 5.25.17 PM


Look under “You Can Help”

  1. Jo Cline Memorial Endowment



Step 2: Check your written answers to the answers below. If your answer is correct, give it a check mark.

Step 3: If your answer is wrong, put a small X.

Step 4: If you think my answer is questionable, write yourself a note, do the research and let me know if I’ve erred. Thanks in advance,


You are welcome to play with us during the next live broadcast of

“Let’s talk astronomy” this coming Monday beginning at 8 am eastern US time on Periscope.

Periscope is a live video streaming app for Android and iOS available in the App Store.

On Monday, March 18, 2019, our Astronomy Challenge was about interplanetary dust.

The questions are given above, the correct answers and the winners are given below.

Congratulations to all winners and thank-you to all participants.

Play the Astronomy Challenge live on Periscope’s “ Let’s talk astronomy” 8 am (Eastern US time) on Mondays.


Correct Answers……..Periscope Winners:


  1. Out past the orbit of Mars…………………@oooGRINDIZERooo: Interplanetary dust is negligible at the distance of Jupiter.


  1. Mars…………@Pircano: mass of the interplanetary dust is about 0.000000000000010 of the total mass of the Solar System.


  1. comets……………….@Pircano: The solar wind assaults the interplanetary dust continually. For the cloud to last much longer than 10,000 years, the material must be renewed.


  1. meteors………………..@Pircano: Larger dust particles hit the Earth’s atmosphere and we get “shooting stars,” or meteors.


  1. Zodiacal Light……………….@Pircano: This reflected light should be visible for the two weeks following the equinox. Have you seen it yet? It is predicted for about two weeks after September 21, 2019 in the Eastern sky.


If you find a mistake, please let me know.

Thanks goes out to all participants,


Congratulations to everyone who got one right.


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