Astrophysics and Space Science

, Volume 237, Issue 1–2, pp 243–266 | Cite as

The identification of diffuse bands

  • D A Williams
Interstellar Medium

Abstract

Our present knowledge of the diffuse interstellar bands (two of which were first noted by Wilson in 1958) is briefly summarized. Other broad and very broad interstellar features (the 220nm extinction bump, the very broad structure in the extinction curve, the extended red emission in reflection and other nebulae, and the unidentified-sometimes called the “overidentified”-infrared bands) are also briefly described. The origins of all these features remain unknown, in spite of intensive study. Possible relations between these various features and families is briefly discussed. Recent observations are shown to support the hypothesis that the carriers of the diffuse bands are free-flying molecules, whereas the alternative hypothesis of dust grains now seems to be untenable. Candidate types of molecular carriers are mentioned, and the possible source of such molecules in the diffuse interstellar medium is briefly discussed.

Keywords

Reflection Dust Alternative Hypothesis Recent Observation Interstellar Medium 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • D A Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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