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The origin and evolution of interstellar organics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2008

Jean E. Chiar
Affiliation:
SETI Institute, Carl Sagan Center, 515 N. Whisman Road, Mountain View, CA 94043 email: jchiar@seti.org
Yvonne J. Pendleton
Affiliation:
NASA Headquarters email: yvonne.pendleton@nasa.gov
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Abstract

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Over the last decade, we have made great strides in better understanding dust composition and evolution in dense clouds and the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM). Thanks to improvements in IR detector sensitivity on ground-based telescopes and the Spitzer Space Telescope mission, we are no longer limited to a handful of bright background stars in order to study dust composition in quiescent dense clouds and the diffuse ISM. More thorough sampling of lines of sight in these regions has highlighted the dichotomy of the nature and composition of dust in these environments. In addition, successes in recreating interstellar processes and dust-analogs in the laboratory have helped us to understand the differences in dust absorption features we observe in the ISM. In this article, we focus on the organic components of interstellar dust, reviewing past work and highlighting the most recent observations and laboratory experiments.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2008

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