Secrets in the Dust - Netflix

Through its ability to make us dream and marvel at the achievements of the past, archaeology has evolved from an inconspicuous discipline based on ruins and fragments into one of the most attention-grabbing fields of scientific study today. This series presents not only some of the most groundbreaking archaeological discoveries, but also the turbulent history of archaeology itself, with its adventurers and grave robbers, its embittered rivals and passionate visionaries.

Secrets in the Dust - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2011-06-23

Secrets in the Dust - Cosmic dust - Netflix

Cosmic dust, also called extraterrestrial dust or space dust, is dust which exists in outer space, as well as all over planet Earth. Most cosmic dust particles are between a few molecules to 0.1 µm in size. A smaller fraction of all dust in space consists of larger refractory minerals that condensed as matter left by stars. It is called “stardust” and is included in a separate section below. The dust density falling to Earth is approximately 10−6/m3 with each grain having a mass between 10−16kg (0.1 pg) and 10−4 kg (100 mg). Cosmic dust can be further distinguished by its astronomical location: intergalactic dust, interstellar dust, interplanetary dust (such as in the zodiacal cloud) and circumplanetary dust (such as in a planetary ring). In the Solar System, interplanetary dust causes the zodiacal light. Sources of Solar System dust include comet dust, asteroidal dust, dust from the Kuiper belt, and interstellar dust passing through the Solar System. The terminology has no specific application for describing materials found on the planet Earth except for dust that has demonstrably fallen to Earth. By one estimate, as much as 40,000 tons of cosmic dust reaches the Earth's surface every year. In October 2011, scientists reported that cosmic dust contains complex organic matter (amorphous organic solids with a mixed aromatic–aliphatic structure) that could be created naturally, and rapidly, by stars. In August 2014, scientists announced the collection of possible interstellar dust particles from the Stardust spacecraft since returning to Earth in 2006. In March 2017, scientists reported that extraterrestrial dust particles have been identified all over planet Earth. According to one of the researchers, “Once I knew what to look for, I found them everywhere.”

Secrets in the Dust - Radiative properties - Netflix

A dust particle interacts with electromagnetic radiation in a way that depends on its cross section, the wavelength of the electromagnetic radiation, and on the nature of the grain: its refractive index, size, etc. The radiation process for an individual grain is called its emissivity, dependent on the grain's efficiency factor. Furthermore, we have to specify whether the emissivity process is extinction, scattering, absorption, or polarisation. In the radiation emission curves, several important signatures identify the composition of the emitting or absorbing dust particles. Dust particles can scatter light nonuniformly. Forward-scattered light means that light is redirected slightly by diffraction off its path from the star/sunlight, and back-scattered light is reflected light. The scattering and extinction (“dimming”) of the radiation gives useful information about the dust grain sizes. For example, if the object(s) in one's data is many times brighter in forward-scattered visible light than in back-scattered visible light, then we know that a significant fraction of the particles are about a micrometer in diameter. The scattering of light from dust grains in long exposure visible photographs is quite noticeable in reflection nebulae, and gives clues about the individual particle's light-scattering properties. In X-ray wavelengths, many scientists are investigating the scattering of X-rays by interstellar dust, and some have suggested that astronomical X-ray sources would possess diffuse haloes, due to the dust.

Secrets in the Dust - References - Netflix