Venus also turns up a number of undiscovered orbital partners

Scientists have spotted, for the first time, gigantic dust rings circling the Sun alongside the orbits of Mercury and Venus.

The Solar System is nothing but our star, a few planets, some satellites, lots of little rocks, and a load of dust.

As asteroids collide and comets burn up, leftover crumbs are scattered around space, and these particles get sucked into the orbits of planets to form dust clouds – Earth’s even got its own debris zone.

“People thought that Mercury, unlike Earth or Venus, is too small and too close to the Sun to capture a dust ring,” said Russell Howard, an astrophysicist working for the US Naval Research Laboratory.

“They expected that the solar wind and magnetic forces from the Sun would blow any excess dust at Mercury’s orbit away.”

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