Size Dependence of Dust Distribution around the Earth Orbit

Takahiro Ueda, Hiroshi Kobayashi, Taku Takeuchi, Daisuke Ishihara, Toru Kondo, Hidehiro Kaneda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In the solar system, interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) originating mainly from asteroid collisions and cometary activities drift to Earth orbit due to Poynting-Robertson drag. We analyzed the thermal emission from IDPs that was observed by the first Japanese infrared astronomical satellite, AKARI. The observed surface brightness in the trailing direction of the Earth orbit is 3.7% greater than that in the leading direction in the 9 μm band and 3.0% in the 18 μm band. In order to reveal dust properties causing leading-trailing surface brightness asymmetry, we numerically integrated orbits of the Sun, the Earth, and a dust particle as a restricted three-body problem including radiation from the Sun. The initial orbits of particles are determined according to the orbits of main-belt asteroids or Jupiter-family comets. Orbital trapping in mean motion resonances results in a significant leading-trailing asymmetry so that intermediate sized dust (∼10-100 μm) produces a greater asymmetry than zodiacal light. The leading-trailing surface brightness difference integrated over the size distribution of the asteroidal dust is obtained to be 27.7% and 25.3% in the 9 μm and 18 μm bands, respectively. In contrast, the brightness difference for cometary dust is calculated as 3.6% and 3.1% in the 9 μm and 18 μm bands, respectively, if the maximum dust radius is set to be s max = 3000 μm. Taking into account these values and their errors, we conclude that the contribution of asteroidal dust to the zodiacal infrared emission is less than ∼10%, while cometary dust of the order of 1 mm mainly accounts for the zodiacal light in infrared.

Original languageEnglish
Article number232
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May
Externally publishedYes


  • comets: general
  • interplanetary medium
  • minor planets asteroids: general
  • zodiacal dust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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