After nearly half a century of debate and skepticism, Hungarian astronomers confirmed the existence of two Kordylewski Clouds. Named after Kazimierz Kordylewski, the Polish astronomer who first observed the phenomenon in 1956, Kordylewski clouds are large objects composed entirely of dust that orbit the Earth. They are about the same distance away from Earth as the Moon, and according to National Geographic, measure 65,000 by 45,000 in size, approximately nine times larger than the Earth. Because of these (not so) little dust devils’ faint composition, they are difficult to observe, especially with the backdrop of the dark vacuum of space.

The Kordylewski clouds are located at two Lagrange Points (five areas in deep space where the gravitational pull of Earth and its Moon balance each other out), L4 and L5, creating a triangle with equal sides with the Earth and Moon, orbiting our planet in a similar fashion as the Moon does.

Judit Slíz-Balogh, András Barta, Gábor Horváth, the members of the Hungarian team credited with the discovery, first developed computer models to simulate the behavior of light interacting with the proposed clouds, then utilized a digital camera equipped with polarizing filters to capture an authentic image of the clouds. They documented their findings in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

So what is the significance of uncovering a couple massive puffs of dust orbiting our planet? Due to the stability of the points where these dust moons are located, researchers indicate these areas as potential sites for future space stations. Further research into the clouds will allow researchers to determine if the dust poses any risk to any gear, equipment, or astronauts who might be operating near by.