Western University Physics adn AstronomyWestern Science

The mystery of the Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs)

Supervisor: Dr. Jan Cami

Can extend to MSc?:  Yes

Project Description (Abstract):

The Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs) are a set of about 500 absorption lines that we see whenever we osberve starlight that is attenuated by intervening interstellar clouds. These absorption lines are certainly due to some chemicals that reside in interstellar clouds, but with the exception of 4 bands that are due to C60, we don't know which molecules are responsible. Most likely, they are large carbonaceous molecules that are stable enough to survive in the interstellar medium.

In the past year, we have acquired the most comprehensive and detailed set of DIB observations to date using the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile to observe more than 100 sightlines. In this project, you will use this dataset to study the properties of an important subset of sightlines that only intersect a single interstellar cloud. You will compare the properties of the DIBs in these sightlines to the properties of known atomic and molecular species to reveal constraints (such as molecular size) on the species responsible for the DIBs.

cami DBI

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