From grain growth to astromineralogy: Studying dust with X-ray imaging and spectroscopy (Cosmic Dust 2018)
X-ray imaging and spectroscopy can provide a powerful tool for measuring the large end of the dust grain size distribution — important for interpretting infrared extinction as well as understanding grain growth in the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM). In addition, X-ray photoelectric absorption edges observed in high resolution spectra of Galactic X-ray binaries directly reveal the mineral composition of interstellar dust. I will review open problems in the field of astromineralogy, as probed by X-ray extinction. I will describe how observations from the next two X-ray missions — XARM and ARCUS — will answer some of those questions. Finally, I will discuss synergistic opportunities for X-ray telescopes and JWST to provide a more complete picture of dust grain evolution in the diffuse ISM.
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Light echo from star V838
(NASA/ESA/H E Bond)