, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 5-12

Dust in cosmic plasma environments

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Cosmic dust is invariably immersed in a plasma and a radiative environment. Consequently, it is charged to some electrostatic potential which depends on the properties of the environment as well as the nature of the dust. This charging affects the physical and dynamical properties of the dust. In this paper the basic aspects of this dust-plasma interaction in several cosmic environments — including planetary magnetospheres, the heliosphere and the interstellar medium — are discussed. The physical and dynamical consequences of the interaction, as well as the pertinent observational evidence, are reviewed. Finally, the importance of the surface charge during the condensation process in plasma environments is stressed.