Interstellar dust is ubiquitous, yet its precise composition is still widely debated. The overall goal of my research is to trace the evolution of dust as it cycles from the diffuse regions of interstellar space into cold dark clouds where grain growth and ice mantles change the nature of the dust grains. My colleagues and I accomplish this goal by studying the infrared spectra of dust in the general interstellar medium, cold dark clouds and star-forming regions. The dust that becomes part of the star-formation process will eventually be incorporated into protoplanetary disks that may resemble the beginnings of our own Solar System.
Listen to my SETI Institute public colloquium talk on hydrocarbons in the interstellar medium http://youtu.be/NjEFQPJxank
Selected Refereed Publications
- Ices in the Quiescent IC 5146 Dense Cloud; Chiar, J.E., Pendleton, Y.J., Allamandola, L.J. and 14 coauthors, Astrophysical Journal, 2011, V. 731, 9
- The Relationship between the Optical Depth of the 9.7 μm Silicate Absorption Feature and Infrared Differential Extinction in Dense Clouds; Chiar, J.E., Ennico, K.; Pendleton, Y.J. and 8 coauthors, Astrophysical Journal, 2007, V. 666, 73