While gaseous carbon-rich species in cometary comae (coming from the nuclei icy component) are extensively studied by spectroscopic remote observations, so-called CHONs dust particles, i. e. organic compounds coming from the nuclei refractory component, have mostly been studied by dust mass spectrometers flying through the comae of comets 1P/Halley and 81P/Wild 2. However, remote observations of the light scattered by dust in cometary comae and in the interplanetary medium, coupled with both numerical and experimental simulations, have recently allowed us to confirm that such particles harbor a significant fraction of absorbing material, presumably consisting of organic compounds (Levasseur-Regourd et al. PSS 2007, Lasue et al. A&A 2007).
We estimate the fraction of absorbing material present in cometary dust for extensively observed comets (e.g., 1P/Halley, C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp) and in the interplanetary dust (from zodiacal light observations). We also establish that, besides compact particles, fluffy aggregates are definitely present in these media. The properties (e.g., size distribution, morphology, composition) of the cometary and interplanetary dust particles, as inferred from light scattering data analysis, are compared with those of the IDPS collected in the upper Earth atmosphere and of the unique samples returned by the Stardust mission at Wild 2. The results are discussed in terms of the formation of comets in the protosolar nebula, and of the possible survival, at the epoch of late early bombardment, of cometary organics embedded in fluffy aggregates.