The Near-Sun Dust Environment: Initial Observations from Parker Solar Probe

J. R. Szalay, P. Pokorný, P. Pokorný, S. D. Bale, S. D. Bale, E. R. Christian, K. Goetz, K. Goodrich, K. Goodrich, M. E. Hill, M. Kuchner, R. Larsen, D. Malaspina, D. J. Mccomas, D. Mitchell, B. Page, B. Page, N. Schwadron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) spacecraft has flown into the densest, previously unexplored, innermost region of our solar system's zodiacal cloud. While PSP does not have a dedicated dust detector, multiple instruments on the spacecraft are sensitive to the effects of meteoroid bombardment. Here, we discuss measurements taken during PSP's second orbit and compare them to models of the zodiacal cloud's dust distribution. Comparing the radial impact rate trends and the timing and location of a dust impact to an energetic particle detector, we find the impactor population to be consistent with dust grains on hyperbolic orbits escaping the solar system. Assuming PSP's impact environment is dominated by hyperbolic impactors, the total quantity of dust ejected from our solar system is estimated to be 0.5-10 tons/s. We expect PSP will encounter an increasingly intense impactor environment as its perihelion distance and semimajor axis are decreased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number27
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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