Event Title

Delving Deeper in to Space: Observing Areas Surrounded by Interstellar Dust

Graduation Year

2016

Location

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

18-4-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

18-4-2015 3:00 PM

Description

While many stars are easily visible to the naked eye at night, many areas of space are not visible because they are surrounded by clouds of interstellar dust. Interstellar dust absorbs visible light such that areas surrounded by dust cannot be seen with conventional telescopes. Instead, the dust emits radiation at mm/sub-mm wavelengths that are roughly 1000 times longer than the wavelengths of visible light. In order to interpret the radiation coming from dusty areas of space, astrochemically relevant dusts have been replicated in the laboratory so that they can be studied at mm/sub-mm wavelengths. Mineral dusts including forsterite (Mg2SiO4), periclase (MgO), enstatite (MgSiO3) and fayalite (Fe2SiO4) have been synthesized using the sol-gel technique, whereby dust particles are generated from solution and form a gel. The gel is then dried, baked, and ground in to a dust. The dusts have been characterized using infrared(IR) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy(SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), and X-ray powder diffraction. The dusts are being prepared so that they can be studied in a special IR spectrometer that tests the samples at astronomically relevant wavelengths.

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Apr 18th, 2:00 PM Apr 18th, 3:00 PM

Delving Deeper in to Space: Observing Areas Surrounded by Interstellar Dust

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

While many stars are easily visible to the naked eye at night, many areas of space are not visible because they are surrounded by clouds of interstellar dust. Interstellar dust absorbs visible light such that areas surrounded by dust cannot be seen with conventional telescopes. Instead, the dust emits radiation at mm/sub-mm wavelengths that are roughly 1000 times longer than the wavelengths of visible light. In order to interpret the radiation coming from dusty areas of space, astrochemically relevant dusts have been replicated in the laboratory so that they can be studied at mm/sub-mm wavelengths. Mineral dusts including forsterite (Mg2SiO4), periclase (MgO), enstatite (MgSiO3) and fayalite (Fe2SiO4) have been synthesized using the sol-gel technique, whereby dust particles are generated from solution and form a gel. The gel is then dried, baked, and ground in to a dust. The dusts have been characterized using infrared(IR) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy(SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), and X-ray powder diffraction. The dusts are being prepared so that they can be studied in a special IR spectrometer that tests the samples at astronomically relevant wavelengths.