From the April 2011 issue

I see the term dust in many Astronomy articles. What is it, and where does it come from?

Larry Mengel, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
By | Published: April 25, 2011 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Era Carinae shed some 2 to 3 solar masses of gas and dust nearly 160 years ago to create the lobed nebula surrounding the massive star. This object showcases one way that dust forms in the cosmos. NASA/ESA/The Hubble SM4 ERO Team

Dust in an astronomical context refers to small grains of solid material present in space. These grains form in the winds of evolved stars and supernovae explosions.