A 'ghostly glow' is surrounding our solar system and scientists can't explain it
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Featured Image Credit: Stockbym/Alamy Stock Photo/NASA/Bill Dunford
Scientists have revealed that a 'ghostly glow' is surrounding our solar system, but it's not clear what it is or where it's coming from.
The glow is a bit of a mystery, especially considering it continues despite light sources - for example stars and galaxies - having been taken out of the equation.
While the dim glow is only a teeny amount of light, it's still baffling scientists who are determined to uncover its origins and they do have a theory.
NASA explain that scientists first came across the tiny glow after filtering through 200,000 images from the Hubble Space Telescope.
They looked for any residual background glow - which is light leftover after subtracting the glow from planets, stars, galaxies, and dust.
When the project - called SKYSURF - was complete, they found the small amount of light, which is the equivalent of 10 fireflies spread across the sky.
Scientists say there could be one possible explanation - the theory that the inner solar system contains a sphere of dust from comets.
Researchers believe the glow could be sunlight reflecting off the dust, a theory reinforced by an event in 2021 which saw astronomers use data from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft to measure the sky background.
The measurements were made in an area where there would be no dust, but the spacecraft still detected a glimmer of light.
Whether it could be 'decaying matter' or even remote galaxies, the source of the light is unclear.
"The source of the background light seen by New Horizons also remains unexplained," NASA explain. "There are numerous theories ranging from the decay of dark matter to a huge unseen population of remote galaxies."
Tim Carleton, of Arizona State University, explained: "If our analysis is correct there's another dust component between us and the distance where New Horizons made measurements. That means this is some kind of extra light coming from inside our solar system.
"Because our measurement of residual light is higher than New Horizons we think it is a local phenomenon that is not from far outside the solar system. It may be a new element to the contents of the solar system that has been hypothesized but not quantitatively measured until now."
In other space news, earlier this week we told you how an unidentified object that flew by Earth has just left our solar system.
Oumuamua - a long, cigar-shaped object that was spotted flying through our solar system five years ago - has finally made its way out.
The object made headlines at the time for being the very first visitor to travel into our solar system from elsewhere in the vast and mysterious galaxy.
Many wondered whether it could have been an alien, or even just a rock, but new reports explain that it has now left our solar system after five years.