Astrophysical dust

Astrophysical dust refers to a solid particle that is between a few molecules and up to a few millimetres in size that exists in outer space or is of cosmic origin. Astrophysical dust includes but is not limited to dust associated with comets and asteroids, and interplanetary, interstellar and intergalactic dust.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    A predominance of small grains (tens of nanometres in size) over larger grains and the corresponding near- to mid-infrared excess radiation from H ii regions around massive stars and supernovae has been difficult to explain. Hoang et al. propose a radiative torque disruption method for large dust grains that fits with the observational constraints.

    • Thiem Hoang
    • , Le Ngoc Tram
    • , Hyeseung Lee
    •  & Sang-Hyeon Ahn
  • Research |

    Carbon-rich and oxygen-rich material coexist in a presolar grain originated by an outburst of a CO nova and found within the LaPaz Icefield 031117 meteorite. Condensation of both carbon and oxygen can thus happen in the same circumstellar environment, contrary to previous assumptions.

    • Pierre Haenecour
    • , Jane Y. Howe
    • , Thomas J. Zega
    • , Sachiko Amari
    • , Katharina Lodders
    • , Jordi José
    • , Kazutoshi Kaji
    • , Takeshi Sunaoshi
    •  & Atsushi Muto
  • Research |

    A serpentine plume of dust around a Wolf–Rayet binary indicates the presence of an anisotropic colliding-wind system in which one of the components is likely to be rapidly rotating. Spun-up Wolf–Rayet stars are thought to be long gamma-ray burst sources.

    • J. R. Callingham
    • , P. G. Tuthill
    • , B. J. S. Pope
    • , P. M. Williams
    • , P. A. Crowther
    • , M. Edwards
    • , B. Norris
    •  & L. Kedziora-Chudczer
    Nature Astronomy 3, 82-87
  • Research | | open

    Alumina is thought to be the main condensate to form in the gas outflow from oxygen-rich evolved stars. Here, the authors perform a condensation experiment with alumina in a low-gravity environment, and find spectroscopic evidence for a sharp feature at a wavelength of 13.55 μm.

    • Shinnosuke Ishizuka
    • , Yuki Kimura
    • , Itsuki Sakon
    • , Hiroshi Kimura
    • , Tomoya Yamazaki
    • , Shinsuke Takeuchi
    •  & Yuko Inatomi

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