Special Session SS7  14 July 2023

Dust lifecycle: from stars to the interstellar medium of galaxies

Aims and scope

Dust has a far-reaching relevance in many astrophysical processes: it acts as catalyst for molecules that form onto grains, and as gas coolant, allowing for the genesis of stars and planets that can harbour life. In the interstellar medium (ISM), dust has a key role in the radiative transfer and chemistry which greatly impact galaxy evolution. On top of this, dust grains are able to absorb the radiation from young stars and to re-emit it mostly in the far-infrared bands affecting the spectral energy distribution of galaxies. Therefore, the study of dust in galaxies is of paramount importance to understand the origin of planetary systems, including the Solar System, out to the first galaxies formed. The origin and evolution of dust is still a matter of debate. If on one hand, massive stars are the first objects able to enrich the ISM with metals and dust, eventually exploding as Type II Supernovae (SNe) in less than 30 Myrs, on the other hand, the vast majority of the stars formed will end their evolution in a time scale between 100 Myrs and the age of the Universe, as thermally pulsing asymptotic giant branch (TP-AGB) stars, losing mass at high rates. Grain evolution in the ISM (e.g. accretion, destruction) makes the picture even more complicated. Although significant progress has been made in exploring dust characteristics across a wide range of astrophysical conditions, thanks to the increasing capabilities of space- and ground-based telescopes operating at infrared and sub-millimeter wavelengths (e.g. Spitzer; the Herschel Space Observatory; IRAM-NOEMA/NIKA2, ALMA, SCUBA2, and JWST), detailed studies of the dust properties in different environments and over cosmic times are still scarce and basic questions about its formation and evolution continue to be debated. In this session we aim to discuss the state-of-the-art of models and observations of dust in different environments, including revealing exciting results from JWST observations. We also aim to discuss the challenges that lie ahead also in view of future sub-mm telescope surveys (CCTP and AtLAST) that will allow to chracterize cold dust up to high-z (z~6). We also welcome abstracts from scientists involved in laboratory experiments on dust.


  • Dust in protoplanetary disks/Solar System
  • One of the key steps toward planet formation is the growth of dust grains into larger aggregates and eventually planetesimals. Therefore, understanding the dust evolution processes taking place within the disks are crucial for planet formation theory and models. In the Solar System, pre-solar grains produced from the relics of stars have travelled across the ISM and have been incorporated in meteorites during the Sun formation. The study of pre-solar grains provides constraints on stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis of both SNe and TP-AGB stars.
  • Dust from stellar sources
  • Dust grains are condensed in SNe remnants and in the expanding winds of TP-AGB stars, Red Supergiants and Wolf-Rayet stars. Dust grains are also destroyed by SN shocks depending on their properties. The amount of dust produced and destroyed by SNe, as well as that released through stellar winds during the entire life-time of the star as a function of its mass and metallicity, remains debated.
  • Interstellar medium of galaxies
  • Dust is a crucial components of galaxies and it is directly linked to their evolution across time in the Universe. Thanks to the recent advent of sub-mm instruments such as ALMA and NOEMA, the last years have seen a stream in observational and theoretical studies constraining the dust-abundance of galaxies up to very high redshifts (z~4-5). Many of these observational discoveries have raised important questions on the main mechanisms for the dust mass production and destruction at each stage of galaxy evolution. These questions are big challenge to the new generation of models and simulations.

    We believe it is timely to review and discuss recent progress, open questions and further development in the aforementioned fields, in particular through the view of synergy between JWST and current/future sub-mm instruments.

Invited speakers

  • Roger Wesson (Cardiff, UK)
  • Ilse De Looze (Ghent University, Belgium)
  • Michal Michalowski (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland)

Scientific organisers

  • Ambra Nanni (Chair, National Centre for Nuclear Research, Warsaw, PL)
  • Jacco Th. van Loon (Co-chair, Keele University, UK)
  • Darko Donevski (National Centre for Nuclear Research, Warsaw, PL)
  • Atefeh Javadi (IPM, Iran)
  • Mikako Matsuura(Cardiff, UK)
  • Nathalie Ysard (Université Paris-Saclay, FR)
  • Contact

    ambra.nanni @ ncbj.gov.pl

    Updated on Mon Apr 17 14:04:58 CEST 2023