To appear in "Solid State Astrochemistry", ed. V. Pirronello & J. Krelowski, (Dordrect: Kluwer), 2002.
astro-ph/0204392

For a PDF version of the article, click here.
For a Postscript version of the article, click here.


IN DUST WE TRUST: AN OVERVIEW OF OBSERVATIONS AND THEORIES OF INTERSTELLAR DUST

Aigen Li


Princeton University Observatory, Peyton Hall, Princeton,
NJ 08544, USA; agli@astro.princeton.edu
and Theoretical Astrophysics Program, University of Arizona,
Tucson, AZ 85721, USA; agli@lpl.arizona.edu

AND

J. Mayo Greenberg


The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Laboratory for Astrophysics,
Sterrewacht Leiden, Postbus 9513, 2300 RA Leiden,
The Netherlands


Abstract. The past century of interstellar dust has brought us from first ignoring it to finding that it is an important component of the interstellar medium and plays an important role in the evolution of galaxies, the formation of stars and planetary systems, and possibly, the origins of life. Current observational results in our galaxy provide a complex physical and chemical evolutionary picture of interstellar dust starting with the formation of small refractory particles in stellar atmospheres to their modification in diffuse and molecular clouds and ultimately to their contribution to star forming regions. In this review, a brief history of the studies of interstellar dust is presented. Our current understanding of the physical and chemical properties of interstellar dust are summarized, based on observational evidences from interstellar extinction, absorption, scattering, polarization, emission (luminescence, infrared vibrational emission, and microwave rotational emission), interstellar depletions, and theoretical modelling. Some unsolved outstanding problems are listed.


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

HISTORY OF DUST STUDIES
Interstellar Dust: Early Observational Evidences
Interstellar Matter: Theoretical Evidences
Interstellar Dust: Early Modelling Efforts
Contemporary Interstellar Dust Models
Scattering of Light by Small Particles: An Essential Tool for Dust Studies
Comets

THE CURRENT STATE OF THE ART
Extinction (Scattering, Absorption) and Polarization
Interstellar Extinction and Polarization Curves
Spectroscopic Extinction and Polarization Features
Dust Emission
Dust Luminescence: The "Extended Red Emission"
Dust Temperatures and IR Emission
Microwave Emission: Spinning Dust Grains
Interstellar Depletions
Interstellar Dust in the Solar System
From Interstellar Dust to Comets

FUTURE

REFERENCES

Next