Interstellar Medium

Reflected starlight traces dust structure

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Science  30 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6307, pp. 1510-1511
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6307.1510-f

The diffuse interstellar medium (ISM) is structured on many scales. Studies of gas absorption lines have shown that structure persists all the way down to solar-system scales, contrary to theoretical expectations, but it has been unclear whether the solid dust particles share this behavior. Miville-Deschenes et al. studied the cirrus-like pattern of starlight reflecting off of dust grains in a nearby region of the ISM. They find that the dust is structured with a single power law on all the scales that they can probe, a sign of turbulent motion within the ISM driven by galactic feedback processes.

Astron. Astrophys. 593, A4 (2016).

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