dusty plasma

Dusty plasma in the universe and in the laboratory

Dusty plasma in the universe and in the laboratory

In 1981, the Voyager 2 space probe took intriguing images of Saturn’s rings as it passed by the giant planet on its way to Uranus. The images showed what looked like ghostly “spokes” moving on the rings, much like the spokes of a bicycle wheel as it turns. After some head-scratching, scientists realized that the Saturnian spokes most likely were tiny specks of dust moving around the rings due to electric and magnetic forces. These forces result from electrically charged gases known as plasma.