Friday, June 3, 2016

How Dusty are Exoplanetary Systems

Light Scattering and Thermal Emission by Primitive Dust Particles in Planetary Systems


Kimura et al


This review focuses on numerical approaches to deducing the light-scattering and thermal-emission properties of primitive dust particles in planetary systems from astronomical observations. The particles are agglomerates of small grains with sizes comparable to visible wavelength and compositions being mainly magnesium-rich silicates, iron-bearing metals, and organic refractory materials in pristine phases. These unique characteristics of primitive dust particles reflect their formation and evolution around main-sequence stars of essentially solar composition. The development of light-scattering theories has been offering powerful tools to make a thorough investigation of light scattering and thermal emission by primitive dust agglomerates in such a circumstellar environment. In particular, the discrete dipole approximation, the T-matrix method, and effective medium approximations are the most popular techniques for practical use in astronomy. Numerical simulations of light scattering and thermal emission by dust agglomerates of submicrometer-sized constituent grains have a great potential to provide new state-of-the-art knowledge of primitive dust particles in planetary systems. What is essential to this end is to combine the simulations with comprehensive collections of relevant results from not only astronomical observations, but also in-situ data analyses, laboratory sample analyses, laboratory analogue experiments, and theoretical studies on the origin and evolution of the particles.

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