Scientists Just Discovered A Ghostly Glow Around The Solar System

By Nathan Kamal | Published

solar system

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured images indicating that our solar system is surrounded by a kind of “ghostly glow.” Per a report in The Byte, astronomers have discovered that the area between Mars, Earth, and all the other planets near ours has a very faint but still discernible source of light, the source of which no one is exactly sure. However, researchers are sure that it is not reflected light from other galaxies or stars.

As goes nearly without saying, the primary source of light in our solar system is our sun, a yellow dwarf star approximately 4.5 billion years old. The intense nature of the heat and light emanating from the sun blocks out most other light in the immediate area, which makes it all the much more perplexing that this ghostly glow is able to be discerned.

According to an ongoing project named SKYSURF, nearly 200,000 images from the Hubble Space Telescope have been analyzed to determine what this glow might be. It seems that while the glow is extremely faint (with NASA describing it as analogous to a handful of fireflies across the entire night sky), it absolutely is still there. In surprisingly horror movie-like terms, NASA also describes the effect as being like turning out the light in a closed-off room and still finding a tiny bit of light mysteriously emanating from the walls themselves.

The most likely explanation for the glow pervading the solar system is that there is some kind of previously undiscovered dust floating through the space immediately around us. As with many scientific discoveries, the notion of this undiscovered dust in the solar system has to be postulated from the observed effect rather than direct evidence of it (at least for now). Basically, for this glow to exist, it can be reasonably theorized that light is reflecting off something and even if we cannot currently see it, that we can see its secondhand presence is something to go on. 

nasa black hole

This is very similar to how we generally have to assume the existence of the fabled black holes not by directly seeing them, but by observing how the gravity of some object is causing light itself to bend around something incomprehensibly huge and dense. While we cannot see this possible dust, we can hypothesize that its presence in the solar system is what is causing this. What it actually is and why it would form itself into the imperfect spheroid that is the solar system can only be guessed at for now.

SKYSURF is continuing to research this mysterious glow and will likely find new and even more bewildering phenomena to hopefully explain it. Every day, scientists find unheard of things in the vastness of space, from the terrifying notion that our galaxy is surrounded by the decaying corpses of innumerable astronomical bodies or that black holes may be singing bizarre songs into the emptiness. Compared with that, a mild glow actually sounds pretty cool.