Dust in the Galactic Environment, 2nd Edition

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Taylor & Francis, Oct 21, 2002 - Science - 390 pages
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Dust is a ubiquitous feature of the cosmos, impinging directly or indirectly on most fields of modern astronomy and astrophysics. Dust in the Galactic Environment, Second Edition provides a thorough overview of the subject, covering general concepts, methods of investigation, important results and their significance, relevant literature, and some suggestions for promising avenues of future research.

Since the publication of the first edition of this popular graduate text, major advances have been made in our understanding of astrophysical dust, especially in the light of exciting new results from space- and ground-based telescopes, together with advances in laboratory astrophysics and theoretical modeling. This new, expanded edition highlights the latest results and provides a context for future research opportunities. The first chapter provides a historical perspective for current research and an overview of interstellar environments and the role of dust in astrophysical processes, followed by a discussion of the cosmic history of the chemical elements expected to be present in dust and an examination of the effect of gas-dust interactions on gas phase abundances. The next several chapters describe the observed properties of interstellar grains, such as their extinction, polarization, absorption, and emission characteristics. Then, the book explores the origin and evolution of dust, tracing its life cycle in a succession of environments from circumstellar shells to diffuse interstellar clouds, molecular clouds, protostars, and protoplanetary disks. The final chapter summarizes progress toward a unified model. Dust in other galaxies is discussed as an integral part of the text rather than as a distinct topic requiring separate chapters.

Containing extensive references and problems to aid understanding and illustrate basic principles, the book is ideally suited for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses. It will also be an invaluable reference for postgraduate students and researchers working in this important field.

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