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The size distribution of interstellar grains
Mathis, J. S.; Rumpl, W.; Nordsieck, K. H.
AA(Washburn Observatory, Madison, Wis.), AB(Washburn Observatory, Madison, Wis.), AC(Washburn Observatory, Madison, Wis.)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1, vol. 217, Oct. 15, 1977, p. 425-433. NSF-supported research. (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Cosmic Dust, Interstellar Extinction, Interstellar Matter, Particle Size Distribution, Enstatite, Graphite, Magnetite, Olivine, Polarization Characteristics, Ultraviolet Astronomy
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An attempt is made to fit observational data on interstellar extinction over the wavelength range from 0.11 to 1 micron to particle-size distributions of different materials in such a way that the strength and width of the 2160-A extinction bump are very well reproduced. It is found that various mixtures consisting of graphite, silicon carbide, enstatite, olivine, iron, and magnetite are acceptable, that all the acceptable mixtures contain spherical uncoated graphite particles, and that graphite is the main contributor to the 2160-A feature. The required particle-size distribution is shown to be quite broad, with approximately a power-law distribution, for all substances considered. The sizes for graphite are estimated to vary from about 0.005 to about 1 micron, and the observed uniformity of extinction over the sky is explained in terms of a rather uniform power-law exponent, which could have resulted from a stochastic process in grain formation

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