An Introduction to the Physics of Interstellar Dust: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

An Introduction to the Physics of Interstellar Dust

1st Edition

By Endrik Krugel

CRC Press

408 pages | 134 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781584887072
pub: 2007-07-12
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Streamlining the extensive information from the original, highly acclaimed monograph, this new An Introduction to the Physics of Interstellar Dust provides a concise reference and overview of interstellar dust and the interstellar medium. Drawn from a graduate course taught by the author, a highly regarded figure in the field, this all-in-one book emphasizes astronomical formulae and astronomical problems to give a solid foundation for the further study of interstellar medium.

Covering all phenomena associated with cosmic dust, this inclusive text eliminates the need to consult special physical literature by providing a comprehensive introduction in one source. The book addresses the absorption and scattering of dust, its creation in old stars, as well as emission, cohesion, and electrical charge. With strong attention to detail, the author facilitates a complete understanding from which to build a more versatile application and manipulation of the information. Providing insightful explanations for the utilization of many formulae, the author instructs in the effective investigation of astronomical objects for determining basic parameters. The book offers numerous figures displaying basic properties of dust such as optical constants, specific heat, and absorption and scattering coefficients making it accessible for the reader to apply these numbers to the problem at hand. There is an extensive section and comprehensive introduction to radiative transfer in a dusty medium with many practical pieces of advice and ample illustrations to guide astronomers wishing to implement radiative transfer code themselves.

An unparalleled amount of astronomical information in an accessible and palatable resource, An Introduction to the Physics of Interstellar Dust provides the most complete foundational reference available on the subject.


On the whole the book is excellent in its content as well as its presentation. It contains a wealth of valuable information relating to the physics of interstellar grains, essentially updating and replacing the existing textbooks on this subject. It exhaustively covers the theory of light scattering relevant to grains, the processes of grain heating and infrared radiation. Also included are valuable sections on radiative transfer in clouds and grain dynamics. Workers in the field of interstellar dust must find this a most valuable reference book to possess.

Contemporary Physics, Volume 51, Issue 6, 2010

Krügel’s new book is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses and is tremendously appealing because it requires no prior knowledge of astronomy. It can be used as a textbook, a self-study guide for graduate students or more senior academics, or a general reference for active researchers to delve into as needed. A major problem in investigating cosmic dust is that a proper study incorporates so many aspects of the physical sciences, and current texts rarely bring those topics together in such a coherent and concise form as Krügel does.

—Angela Speck, University of Missouri-Columbia, Physics Today, October 2008

Table of Contents

The Dielectric Permeability

How the electromagnetic field acts on dust

The harmonic oscillator

Waves in a conducting medium

How to Evaluate Grain Cross Sections

Defining cross sections

The optical theorem

Mie theory for a sphere

Polarization and scattering

The discrete dipole approximation

The Kramers-Kronig relations

Composite grains

Very Small and Very Big Particles

Tiny spheres

Tiny ellipsoids

The fields inside a dielectric particle

Very large particles

Grains of small refractive index

Case Studies of Mie Calculus

Efficiencies of bare spheres

Scattering by bare spheres

Linear polarization through extinction

Coated spheres

Surface modes in small grains

Structure and Composition of Dust

Crystal structure

Binding in crystals

Carbonaceous grains and silicate grains

Optical constants of dust materials

Grain sizes

Dust Radiation

Kirchhoff's law

The temperature of big grains

The emission of big grains

Calorific properties of solids

Temperature fluctuations of very small grains

The emission spectrum of very small grains

Dust and Its Environment

Grain charge

Grain motion

Dust in the solar system

Grain destruction

Grain formation

Grain Surfaces

Gas accretion on grains

Mobility of atoms on grain surfaces

Grain surface chemistry

Ice mantles

PAHs and Spectral Features of Dust

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

ERE and DIBs

The silicate bands at 10µm and 18µm

Crystalline silicates

The feature at 3.4µm

Interstellar Reddening and Dust Models

Reddening by interstellar grains

Dust models

Radiative Transport

Basic transfer relations

Spherical clouds

Passive disks

Galactic nuclei

The pursuit of random photons

Spectral Energy Distribution of Dusty Objects

Early stages of star formation

Accretion disks

Reflection nebulae

Starburst nuclei

Mass loss giants

The effective extinction curve

Appendix A: Various Dust Related Physics

Boltzmann statistics

Quantum statistics


Blackbody radiation

The classical Hamiltonian

The Hamiltonian in quantum mechanics

The Einstein coefficients A and B

Potential wells and tunneling

Appendix B: Miscellaneous

Mathematical notations

Mathematical formulae

Cosmic constants

Problem set

List of symbols



About the Series

Series in Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Astrophysics & Space Science