Cosmic Dust

Cosmic dust is mainly made up of tiny carbon or mineral grains and is ubiquitous throughout the Universe. Understanding dust is important, since it forms the basic building blocks of planets and is responsible for obscuring half of all starlight. We study how supernovae (SNe) interact with the surrounding dusty interstellar medium (ISM) to answer, in particular, two questions:

  • are SNe net producers or net destroyers of dust?
  • Is dust over- or under-abundant in newly formed cold molecular clouds?

We seek to answer these questions primarily by means of advanced HPC numerical simulations. In addition, we also study basic material properties of cosmic dust and how grains interact with electromagnetic radiation, which is essential in observational astrophysics. New observational facilities (e.g. ELT, JWST) provide a great opportunity to discriminate between various scenarios for cosmic dust evolution, which is why the theoretical studies of cosmic dust represent an important and growing branch of astrophysics.