Featured Image: Making Dust in the Lab

This remarkable photograph (which spans only ~10 µm across; click for a full view) reveals what happens when you form dust grains in a laboratory under conditions similar to those of interstellar space. The cosmic life cycle of dust grains is not well understood — we know that in the interstellar medium (ISM), dust is destroyed at a higher rate than it is produced by stellar sources. Since the amount of dust in the ISM stays constant, however, there must be additional sources of dust production besides stars. A team of scientists led by Daniele Fulvio (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena) have now studied formation mechanisms of dust grains in the lab by mimicking low-temperature ISM conditions and exploring how, under these conditions, carbonaceous materials condense from gas phase to form dust grains. To read more about their results and see additional images, check out the paper below.


Daniele Fulvio et al 2017 ApJS 233 14. doi:10.3847/1538-4365/aa9224

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