The nature of interstellar dust as revealed by light scattering

D. A. Williams


Interstellar dust was first identified through the extinction that it causes of optical starlight. Initially, observational and theoretical studies of extinction were made to identify simple ways of removing the effect of extinction. Over the last few decades it has become clear that dust has a number of very important roles in interstellar physics and chemistry, and that through these roles dust affects quite fundamentally the evolution of the Milky Way and other galaxies. However, our detailed knowledge of the actual material of dust remains relatively poor. The use of accurate models for the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with particles of arbitrary shape and composition remains vital, if our description of dust is to improve.

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