Interstellar medium

Interstellar medium is the space between the stars. The interstellar medium is composed of gas (predominantly hydrogen and helium) and dust. Such interstellar matter makes up approximately 15% of the visible matter in our galaxy.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    A frequently recurring nova is surrounded by an enormous cavity in space, produced as the nova’s ejecta ‘sweeps up’ the interstellar medium around the star after each eruption.

    • M. J. Darnley
    • , R. Hounsell
    • , T. J. O’Brien
    • , M. Henze
    • , P. Rodríguez-Gil
    • , A. W. Shafter
    • , M. M. Shara
    • , N. M. H. Vaytet
    • , M. F. Bode
    • , R. Ciardullo
    • , B. D. Davis
    • , R. Galera-Rosillo
    • , D. J. Harman
    • , E. J. Harvey
    • , M. W. Healy
    • , J.-U. Ness
    • , V. A. R. M. Ribeiro
    •  & S. C. Williams
    Nature 565, 460-463
  • Research |

    Wind from the most massive star in the Trapezium cluster in Orion has carved out a large and expanding cavity around the cluster, bounded by a thin, 2,600-solar-mass shell.

    • C. Pabst
    • , R. Higgins
    • , J. R. Goicoechea
    • , D. Teyssier
    • , O. Berne
    • , E. Chambers
    • , M. Wolfire
    • , S. T. Suri
    • , R. Guesten
    • , J. Stutzki
    • , U. U. Graf
    • , C. Risacher
    •  & A. G. G. M. Tielens
    Nature 565, 618-621
  • Research |

    Observations at millimetre wavelengths reveal a young protostar surrounded by a disk with two differently tilted regions.

    • Nami Sakai
    • , Tomoyuki Hanawa
    • , Yichen Zhang
    • , Aya E. Higuchi
    • , Satoshi Ohashi
    • , Yoko Oya
    •  & Satoshi Yamamoto
    Nature 565, 206-208

News and Comment

  • Comments and Opinion |

    The Origins Space Telescope, one of four large Mission Concept Studies sponsored by NASA for review in the 2020 US Astrophysics Decadal Survey, will open unprecedented discovery space in the infrared, unveiling our cosmic origins.

    • Cara Battersby
    • , Lee Armus
    • , Edwin Bergin
    • , Tiffany Kataria
    • , Margaret Meixner
    • , Alexandra Pope
    • , Kevin B. Stevenson
    • , Asantha Cooray
    • , David Leisawitz
    • , Douglas Scott
    • , James Bauer
    • , C. Matt Bradford
    • , Kimberly Ennico
    • , Jonathan J. Fortney
    • , Lisa Kaltenegger
    • , Gary J. Melnick
    • , Stefanie N. Milam
    • , Desika Narayanan
    • , Deborah Padgett
    • , Klaus Pontoppidan
    • , Thomas Roellig
    • , Karin Sandstrom
    • , Kate Y. L. Su
    • , Joaquin Vieira
    • , Edward Wright
    • , Jonas Zmuidzinas
    • , Johannes Staguhn
    • , Kartik Sheth
    • , Dominic Benford
    • , Eric E. Mamajek
    • , Susan G. Neff
    • , Sean Carey
    • , Denis Burgarella
    • , Elvire De Beck
    • , Maryvonne Gerin
    • , Frank P. Helmich
    • , S. Harvey Moseley
    • , Itsuki Sakon
    •  & Martina C. Wiedner
    Nature Astronomy 2, 596-599
  • Comments and Opinion |

    Innovative and versatile, William Klemperer devised both unorthodox experimental tools that enhanced molecular spectroscopy and a theoretical model that elucidated the paradoxical chemistry of cold interstellar clouds.

    • Dudley Herschbach
    Nature Astronomy 2, 24-25
  • Comments and Opinion |

    Complex organics are now observed throughout the Universe, forming in the circumstellar environments over thousands of years and providing materials for star formation. Did the Earth inherit any of these organics at the time of its formation?

    • Sun Kwok
    Nature Astronomy 1, 642-643