To be published in the proceedings of IAU Symposium 350 "Laboratory Astrophysics: from Observations to Interpretation", ed. F. Salama et al.


Ewine F. van Dishoeck 1,2

1 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, the Netherlands
2 Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany

Abstract: This brief overview stresses the importance of laboratory data and theory in analyzing astronomical observations and understanding the physical and chemical processes that drive the astrophysical phenomena in our Universe. This includes basic atomic and molecular data such as spectroscopy and collisional rate coefficients, but also an improved understanding of nuclear, plasma and particle physics, as well as reactions and photoprocesses in the gaseous and solid state that lead to chemical complexity and building blocks for life. Systematic laboratory collision experiments have provided detailed insight into the steps that produce pebbles, bricks and ultimately planetesimals starting from sub-µ-sized grains. Sample return missions and meteoritic studies benefit from increasingly sophisticated laboratory machines to analyze materials and provide compositional images on nanometer scales. Prioritization of future data requirements will be needed to cope with the increasing data streams from a diverse range of future astronomical facilities within a constrained laboratory astrophysics budget.

Keywords : atomic and molecular data, astronomical databases, methods: laboratory, ISM: techniques: spectrocopic

The paper is in pdf format.