San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Interstellar dust grains - small sub-micron-sized particles that pollute the space between the stars - play an important role in the chemistry of the galaxy as well as the star and planet formation process. We glean most information about dust composition in the interstellar medium from infrared spectroscopy. The vibration of molecules making up the dust cause light from a background star to be absorbed at very specific frequencies in the infrared portion of the spectrum. Dust originates in the outflows of old stars and is composed mainly of silicate minerals and carbon particles. In star formation regions, the silicate grains are covered with icy mantles. I will give an overview of the nature of these dust and ice components, with emphasis on our current understanding of the cosmic life cycle of these materials.
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The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.
We believe we are conducting the most profound search in human history — to know our beginnings and our place among the stars.
The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach.
Every week the SETI Institute hosts a lecture series that is open to the public and gives people a unique opportunity to interact with some of the world's leading space scientists.
For past videos, upcoming events and full event details, go to seti.org/talks.