Physics of the interstellar and intergalactic medium

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While it is assumed that the reader has a background in undergraduate-level physics, including some prior exposure to atomic and molecular physics, statistical mechanics, and electromagnetism, the first six chapters of the book include a review of the basic physics that is used in later chapters. This graduate-level textbook includes references for further reading, and serves as an invaluable resource for working astrophysicists. Here at Walmart.

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Average rating: 0 out of 5 stars, based on 0 reviews Write a review. Bruce T Draine; Bruce Draine. Walmart Tell us if something is incorrect. Book Format: Choose an option. The production of a double layer requires regions with a significant excess of positive or negative charge, that is, where quasi-neutrality is violated. The thickness of a double layer is of the order of ten Debye lengths, which is a few centimeters in the ionosphere, a few tens of meters in the interplanetary medium, and tens of kilometers in the intergalactic medium.

It must be concluded that some objects must have existed earlier that produced sufficient UV flux to ionise nearly all the baryonic matter in the Universe. Mayall's Object also classified under the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies as Arp is the result of two colliding galaxies located million light years away within the constellation of Ursa Major.

When first discovered, Mayall's Object was described as a peculiar nebula, shaped like a question mark. Originally theorized to represent a galaxy reacting with the intergalactic medium, [17] it is now thought to represent the collision of two galaxies, resulting in a new object consisting of a ring-shaped galaxy with a tail emerging from it.

It is thought that the original collision between the two original galaxies created a shockwave that initially drew matter into the center which then formed the ring. The "scaling of the acceleration efficiency with IGM temperature derived assuming a collisionless IGM may also extend to the case of a weakly-collisionless IGM implying that the conclusion that stochastic acceleration is stronger in the hottest clusters holds for a wide range of micro- physical conditions. As the scattering happens on magnetic perturbations induced by the instability, the mean free path of particles decreases as a result of the operation of the instability.

This results in the process being self-regulating, i. A "detection of, or a significant upper limit to, the Lyman continuum can constrain the fraction of photons escaping absorption within the galaxy and ionizing the surrounding intergalactic medium. The "intergalactic medium IGM may be ionized by photons emitted from a cosmological distribution of massive neutrinos. An "early XRB does not create significant amounts of new molecular hydrogen in the IGM, despite the increased population of free electrons.

The "most important collisionless damping of fast modes is due to the Transit-Time-Damping TTD resonance with relativistic particles eg. There are several astrophysical components contributing to the sky background: these could be sets of point sources like faint asteroids, Galactic stars and far away galaxies, as well as diffuse sources like dust in the Solar System , in the Milky Way , and in the intergalactic space.

It "may be possible for a heated IGM with sufficient pressure to inhibit outflows from star-forming protogalaxies. At right is a Spitzer Infrared Telescope image that shows in red the outflow from galaxy M82 of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons PAH s embedded in a gaseous wind propelled out of the galaxy by hot stars in the stellar disk blue. In November , two gigantic gamma-ray bubbles were detected at the heart of our galaxy. These bubbles appear as a mirror image [23] of each other.

These bubbles of high-energy radiation are suspected as erupting from a massive black hole or evidence of a burst of star formations from millions of years ago. They were discovered after scientists filtered out the "fog of background gamma-rays suffusing the sky". This discovery confirmed previous clues that a large unknown "structure" was in the center of the Milky Way. The bubbles stretch up to Grus and to Virgo on the night-sky of the southern hemisphere.

The "maximum energy budget available for cosmic rays in the IGM can be efficiently constrained from the recent upper limits to the gamma ray emission from nearby galaxy clusters eg. Aharonian et al. Brunetti et al , and this provide[s] important information for theoretical models. It has been measured] between redshifts 2 and 6. The "high-redshift IGM [may be] a tracer of cosmic structure formation by gravitational instability.

In such a scenario, diffusely distributed baryonic material the protons and neutrons that constitute ordinary matter responds to the gravitational influence of the underlying dark matter. During these collisions a fraction of the gravitational binding-energy of massive Dark Matter halos can be channelled into shocks and turbulence that may accelerate relativistic protons and electrons e.

The "mean free path of thermal protons due to Coulomb collisions in the hot IGM is very large, ten to hundred kpc e. Sarazin The " proton-wave boiler , was observed in the case of reacceleration by a hypothetical spectrum of isotropic Alfvenic waves Brunetti et al where indeed the damping of the modes was dominated by gyro-resonance with relativistic protons. In the fast regime the damping due to relativistic particles is initially small making the acceleration efficiency large.

Under these conditions relativistic protons rapidly gain energy with the consequence that the damping of the turbulent modes by these protons increases with time and makes the reacceleration process less efficient. In "the slow regime relativistic protons do not increase significantly their energy implying a quasi-constant damping of the modes". The "evolution with time of the spectrum of relativistic electrons and protons [is] subject to reacceleration by fast modes assuming a collisional IGM.

Considering] only primary protons and the secondary electrons produced by inelastic collisions between these protons and the IGM [ Cosmic "ray protons contribute to a few percent of the thermal cluster energy, consistent with the recent limits derived from FERMI observations of nearby clusters Aharonian et al. Larger "injection rates of turbulence do not make the reacceleration process substantially more efficient, due to the damping by the relativistic protons that self-regulates the acceleration efficiency in a few acceleration times.

The "effect of proton back-reaction on the acceleration efficiency becomes less important in the more realistic case of intermittent or patchy turbulence [ Hydrogen "ionization is dominated by the X-ray photoionization of neutral helium and the resulting secondary electrons. Secondary electrons in the cascade are deflected by the intergalactic magnetic fields before they scatter on [cosmic microwave background] CMB photons. This leads to extended 0.

On one, pessimistic, side, they complicate the interpretation of the observational data in the very-high-energy VHE, 0. X-ray observations of galaxy clusters and groups have discovered a large amount of hot, metal-rich gas. Clusters of galaxies are the largest bound systems known, with their baryonic mass dominated by X-ray emitting plasma coronal clouds , which is ten times the mass of the sum of the constituent galaxies. The number of absorption lines measures the product of the baryon density times the metallicity. The X-ray forest is produced by a hot intergalactic medium in the form of filamentary and sheetlike structures connected to galaxy clusters and groups.

The "puddles of X-ray emission seen around the centres of galaxies were not the only diffuse X-ray sources.

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The familiar optical images of these clusters revealed that they typically contained hundreds to thousands of galaxies, spread over tens of millions of light years, but the X-ray emission showed that there was also some smooth distribution of material in between the galaxies — an intergalactic medium. The significance of its X-ray emission was that for the first time, the amount of gas lying in the vast spaces between galaxies could be estimated, and surprisingly, it seemed that there was ten times as much invisible gas between galaxies as there was within them.

This gas was understood to have reached temperatures of tens of millions of degrees in the process of falling in towards the immense gravitational attraction of the galaxy cluster, and hence to have become a source of X-rays. The "XRB-enhanced electron fraction in the IGM prior to reionization increases the total optical depth to electron scattering.

Previous observations of HE— at longer ultraviolet UV wavelengths showed it to be one of the brightest candidates for such observations 22, The instrumental configuration included the The poor seeing on both nights of arcsec FWHM and the intermittent clouds on the second night imposed a substantial throughput penalty to maintain the resolution through the 1-arcsec slit. A decker masked the slit to a height of 10 arcsec, necessary for separating the orders at their closest spacing at the violet end of the echellogram.

The spectrograph was rotated between the s exposures to orient the slit approximately along the parallactic angle to avoid selective losses in the far UV. Each object exposure was preceded and followed by Th-Ar arc lamp images for interpolation of the wavelength solution.

The total exposure time on the quasar was min on 23 March and min on 26 March. This parameter directly provides the gas mass, if it is integrated over solid angles. The association of X-ray and SZ data allows to estimate the Hubble constant, H 0 , independently of the usual standard candles methods see Holzapfel et al. The peculiar velocity of several clusters can also be derived from the Doppler effect, so that it should be possible to detect the large scale gravitational field which is produced by the dark matter.

Giant radio halos are the most spectacular, and best studied, examples of cluster-scale synchrotron sources. Ferrari et al for a review and that are found in merging clusters eg. Cassano et al and ref therein. The morphological and spectral properties of a number of radio halos suggest that the emitting electrons are accelerated by spatially distributed and "gentle" i.

Brunetti et al Coronal clouds of the hot intergalactic medium are likely in the Local Group and intergalactic medium, i. The copious production of hot intragroup and intergalactic gas is a natural consequence of white dwarf-dominated halos. Acceleration may be "by compressible turbulence in galaxy clusters, where the interaction between turbulence and the IGM is mediated by plasma instabilities and maintained collisional at scales much smaller than the Coulomb mean free path.

In this regime most of the energy of fast modes is channelled into the reacceleration of relativistic particles and the acceleration process approaches a universal behaviour being self-regulated by the back-reaction of the accelerated particles on turbulence itself. Relativistic "protons contribute to several percent or less of the cluster energy, consistent with the FERMI observations of nearby clusters, [ From the ionization state of the gaseous species, we can also infer the processes responsible for ionizing the gas, e.

It fills interstellar space and blends smoothly into the surrounding intergalactic medium. The interstellar medium consists of an extremely dilute by terrestrial standards mixture of ions, atoms, molecules, larger dust grains, cosmic rays, and galactic magnetic fields. For no galactic corona, the gas pressure above some height H above the galactic disk is small compared to that in the disk.

The galactic halo region is that region at a distance greater than H. When the only source of energy and mass for the halo is the galactic disk, gas streams into the halo until the pressure gradient is such that the pressure in the halo approaches the disk pressure, on a timescale of about 5 x 10 7 yr. The X-ray luminosity L x of the galactic coronal cloud is 1. The 'local hot bubble' is a "hot X-ray emitting plasma within the local environment of the Sun. The intracluster medium ICM is the superheated plasmas present at the center of a galaxy cluster.

This is gas heated to temperatures of between roughly 10 and megakelvins and consisting mainly of ionized hydrogen and helium, containing most of the baryonic material in the cluster. The ICM strongly emits X-ray radiation. Studying the composition of the ICM at varying redshift which results in looking at different points back in time can therefore give a record of element production in the universe if they are typical. Although the hard X-ray background for the range keV has been nearly completely resolved into individual sources, primarily active galactic nuclei, there is a minor contribution from the hot, intergalactic medium in rich galaxy clusters.

In , radio sources were divided The distinction was originally made based on the morphology of the large-scale radio emission the type was determined by the distance between the brightest points in the radio emission : FRI sources were brightest towards the centre, while FRII sources were brightest at the edges. The morphology turns out to reflect the method of energy transport in the radio source. FRI objects typically have bright jets in the centre, while FRIIs have faint jets but bright hotspots at the ends of the lobes.

FRIIs appear to be able to transport energy efficiently to the ends of the lobes, while FRI beams are inefficient in the sense that they radiate a significant amount of their energy away as they travel.

Interstellar Medium

The warm—hot intergalactic medium WHIM refers to a sparse, warm-to-hot 10 5 to 10 7 K plasma that [may] exist in the spaces between galaxies and This was detected in the 0. Within the WHIM, gas shocks are created as a result of active galactic nuclei , along with the gravitationally-driven processes of merging and accretion. Part of the gravitational energy supplied by these effects is converted into thermal emissions of the matter by collisionless shock heating. Some of the dark-matter concentrations are massive enough to spark star formation.

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Thousands of clumps of dark matter coexist with our Milky Way galaxy, shown in the center of the top panel. The green blobs in the middle panel are those dark-matter chunks massive enough to obtain gas from the intergalactic medium and trigger ongoing star formation, eventually creating dwarf galaxies. In the bottom panel, the red blobs are ultra-faint dwarf galaxies that stopped forming stars long ago. The hot intergalactic medium is the hot intragroup gas within galaxy clusters and groups such as the Local Group of galaxies. Where it is observed, the gas is a substantial fraction of the baryonic mass the dominant baryonic component of clusters comparable to that of the galactic component in groups.

The presence of a hot intergalactic medium in rich galaxy clusters is resulting in the stripping away of the interstellar medium. Galaxies are generally classified according to ellipticity, spiralness, or irregularity. But, interacting galaxies may be a class by themselves, as is the science that determines two or more nearby galaxies are interacting, usually through the intergalactic medium.

It possesses a rich intergalactic medium IGM , where hydrogen clouds, both atomic and molecular, associated with two starbursts refered to as SQ A and B have been found. Spitzer observations reveal powerful H 2 emission originating from the center of this 10 3 km s -1 shock. This collision removed most of the gas of NGC towards the west and east, and produced the eastern tidal tail which connects to NGC The interaction has united the galaxies via a bridge of material and has yanked two strongly curved tails of gas and stars from the outer parts of their bodies.

Both galaxies show dust lanes in their centers. It is the th galaxy in Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. The smaller of the two, dubbed LEDA and positioned to the left of the frame, seems to be safe for now, but will probably be swallowed by the larger spiral galaxy, NGC to the right eventually.

There is already some disturbance visible in both components. The pair is number in Karachentsev's Catalog of Pairs of Galaxies.


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A supernova was seen to explode in the large spiral in NGC is located in the constellation of Draco, the Dragon, about million light-years away. It has a bright curly tail containing a remarkable number of star clusters. The galaxies are thought to be halfway through a merger the cores of the parent galaxies are still clearly separated, but their disks are overlapping.

A supernova exploded in this system in and astronomers believe that a vigorous burst of star formation may have just started. This notable object is located in the constellation of Lynx, some million light-years away from Earth. The galaxies are visibly interacting with each other via a bridge of dim stars connecting the two galaxies, almost like two dancers holding hands while performing a pirouette. Both galaxies harbor supermassive black holes in their centers and are actively forming new stars in their disks.

Arp is located in the constellation Virgo, approximately million light-years away, and is the th galaxy in Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. With the exception of a few foreground stars from our own Milky Way all the objects in this image are galaxies. The galaxy cluster is part of the Great Wall of clusters and superclusters, the largest known structure in the universe. The two spiral galaxies are linked by their swirling arms. Arp is located some million light-years away from Earth and is the number in Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies.

The system is in the early stages of an interaction that has severely distorted both components. The three bright blue knots of very young stars to the right of the two main components are probably part of the irregular blue galaxy. Although the dust lanes that stretch all the way to the center of the elliptical galaxy suggest that gas has penetrated that far, no signs of star formation or nuclear activity are visible. The pair is approximately million light-years away [in the constellation Phoenix]. Fourth at left "is a stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the barred spiral Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC Arp , Mrk , a luminous infrared source with a powerful starburst deeply embedded into its circumnuclear region, and its smaller companion IC This system is located about million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Pegasus, the Winged Horse.

NGC is the larger of the two, and is a very disturbed spiral galaxy. The encounter has pulled a long tail out of NGC that has now wrapped behind its body. The collision has also triggered extensive star formation between the two galaxies. Scientists believe that Arp 81 has a richer collection of young massive star clusters than the notable Antennae galaxies which are much closer than Arp The pair is located in the constellation of Draco, approximately million light-years away from Earth.

Arp 81 is the 81st galaxy in Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. Fifth at left, "The galaxy system NGC has a bright optical center and two clear inner spiral arms that are fairly symmetrical. It also has a spectacular outer structure that consists principally of a large one-sided curved extension of one of these arms to the lower right, and a long, almost straight tail that emerges from the nucleus and crosses the extended arm to the upper right.

The galaxy appears to be the result of a tidal interaction and the resulting merger of two predecessor systems. The system has a nuclear region of quasar-like luminosity, but shows no direct evidence for an active nucleus.

Interstellar and Intergalactic Medium

It is heavily and unevenly reddened across its nucleus, while infrared imaging also shows a ridge of dust. The linear tail to the upper right and extended arms to the lower right are likely the remains of an interacting companion and the tidal plume s caused by the collision.


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NGC is located about million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Eridanus, the River. It shows most of the major galaxy superclusters that surround the Virgo supercluster. These superclusters are not isolated in space but together with many other smaller concentrations of galaxies they form parts of extensive walls of galaxies surrounding large voids.

Three of the biggest walls near us are marked on the map as well as several of the largest voids. There are several hundred thousand large galaxies within million light years, so even on this scale our galaxy is a very insignificant object. For example, the Local Group "is just one of a hundred or so groups and clusters belonging to the Virgo Supercluster. The "cosmic web" is a "web that links the cosmos".

This is sufficient to have ionized the intergalactic medium. Voids located in high-density environments are smaller than voids situated in low-density spaces of the universe. In astronomical spectroscopy , the Gunn—Peterson trough is a feature of the spectra of quasars due to the presence of neutral hydrogen in the intergalactic medium IGM. The trough is characterized by suppression of electromagnetic emission from the quasar at wavelengths less than that of the Lyman-alpha line at the redshift of the emitted light.

These systems will use the station 1 of the Long Wavelength Array as an aperture. LEDA is one of several efforts seeking to study cosmological reionization and the preceding Dark Ages. LEDA will feature array-based calibration to improve the accuracy of foreground subtraction from the total-power signal. Carried aloft on a sounding rocket [image at left], the instrument observed the diffuse soft x-ray emission from a large solid angle at high galactic latitude for seconds in and again, in March of [], with improved hardware.

The spectrum [ Although the data await further, improved analysis, lines are clearly seen at the energies of highly ionized oxygen. The arrays for XRS, like those for XQC, were developed and fabricated at Goddard and consist of silicon thermistors and mercury telluride absorbers.

Typical resolution is eV at 3 keV and is eV at 6 keV an order of magnitude better than a silicon x-ray ionization detector. This broad band 0. During its two years of operation, XRS will apply the power of x-ray spectroscopy to unravel the mysteries of the hot and energetic universe. Main article: Radiation. Main article: Astrochemistry. Main article: Milky Way. Main article: Astrophysics. Main article: Hypotheses. Galaxies Interplanetary medium Interstellar medium.