Dust in the Galactic Environment: 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Dust in the Galactic Environment

2nd Edition

By D.C.B Whittet

CRC Press

390 pages

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Paperback: 9780750306249
pub: 2002-10-21
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315274645
pub: 2018-10-08
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Dust is a ubiquitous feature of the cosmos, impinging directly or indirectly on most fields of modern astronomy and astrophysics. Dust in the Galactic Environment, Second Edition provides a thorough overview of the subject, covering general concepts, methods of investigation, important results and their significance, relevant literature, and some suggestions for promising avenues of future research.

Since the publication of the first edition of this popular graduate text, major advances have been made in our understanding of astrophysical dust, especially in the light of exciting new results from space- and ground-based telescopes, together with advances in laboratory astrophysics and theoretical modeling. This new, expanded edition highlights the latest results and provides a context for future research opportunities. The first chapter provides a historical perspective for current research and an overview of interstellar environments and the role of dust in astrophysical processes, followed by a discussion of the cosmic history of the chemical elements expected to be present in dust and an examination of the effect of gas-dust interactions on gas phase abundances. The next several chapters describe the observed properties of interstellar grains, such as their extinction, polarization, absorption, and emission characteristics. Then, the book explores the origin and evolution of dust, tracing its life cycle in a succession of environments from circumstellar shells to diffuse interstellar clouds, molecular clouds, protostars, and protoplanetary disks. The final chapter summarizes progress toward a unified model. Dust in other galaxies is discussed as an integral part of the text rather than as a distinct topic requiring separate chapters.

Containing extensive references and problems to aid understanding and illustrate basic principles, the book is ideally suited for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses. It will also be an invaluable reference for postgraduate students and researchers working in this important field.


"… high quality … the first edition of the book was considered to be the best text regarding interstellar dust and the interstellar medium (ISM) in general. I think that the second edition will be just as well received. The writing style is very clear, and the material is not over-simplified. The text is complete and conveys a good sense of the basic principles of the subject. Above all, the material is accurate and up-to-date. I think that it will be an excellent addition to your suite of texts and monographs. The exercises are also provocative and informative."

-John Mathis, University of Wisconsin.

"An excellent textbook."

-New Scientist

"… a comprehensive and modern view of dust, using an approach that is firmly based in the astronomical observations … For anyone with the slightest need to know about dust, this new book is essential. Buy it, read it, and keep it by you!"

-Contemporary Physics

"Whittet's book is eminently suitable for those with serious intentions of learning about these matters and going on to do research at the professional level."


"This excellent book is an observer's view of all things to do with observable solids in the full range of galactic environments … A particularly appealing aspect of the book is the discussion of current areas of consensus and unsolved problems … the second edition is already a useful source of information for current work and a mine of ideas for future research."

-Janet E. Bowey, The Observatory

"Whittet cuts a wide swath through this subject. With the many advances in research and instrumentation developed since the publication of the first edition in 1992, this edition is a major updating of the field. Whittet underscores at the beginning what Van de Hulst wrote in 1989 that interstellar space has changed from a stationary 'medium' into an 'environment' with great variations in space and in time. Thus, our understanding has moved from one of a static to an active environment. Designed as a textbook (there are problems at the end of each chapter), suitable at the graduate level, but not beyond the abilities of highly motivated undergraduate seniors."

-E-Streams, Vol. 6, No. 4. Read the full review at http://www.e-streams.com/es0604/es0604_2401.html

"The new edition of a bestselling graduate textbook aims to provide an overview, covering general concepts, methods of investigation, important results and their significance, relevant literature, and some suggestions for promising avenues of future research. The text also encompasses the many important new discoveries that have been made in the field of cosmic dust since the first edition of this book was published in 1991."

-Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

"The book provides a comprehensive overview of galactic dust for the non-expert, the student entering this field, and should also serve as a useful reference for astronomers interested in cosmic dust. It presents a well-written introduction to the field, further reading references and problems for exercises and is therefore particularly suited for teaching at university level."

-Pascale Ehrenfreund, Leiden Observatory

Table of Contents

Dust in the Galaxy: Our view from within. Abundances and depletions. Extinction and scattering. Polarization and grain alignment. Infrared absorption features. Continuum and line emission. Dust in stellar ejecta. Evolution of dust in the interstellar medium. The early phases of stellar evolution. Towards a unified model for interstellar dust. Appendices. References. Index.

About the Series

Series in Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Subject Categories

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