Organics and Water in Space: The Spectroscopic Legacy of the Herschel Space Observatory

Presenter: Edwin Bergin, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
When: June 3, 2013 11AM PDT

The Herschel Space Observatory, an ESA cornerstone mission with NASA
participation, has just completed its 3.5 year mission. I will
briefly outline the overall capabilities of Herschel which has both
phometric and spectroscopic coverage from 63 to 610 microns. Herschel
offers unprecedented sensitivity as well as continuous spectral coverage
across the gaps imposed by the atmosphere, opening up a largely
unexplored wavelength regime to high resolution spectroscopy. This focus
will broadly address results from several observational programs. In
this talk I will first describe a selection of Herschel’s efforts to
explore the origins of chemical complexity in space.

I will summarize the power of Herschel where we have detected over 40,000 molecular lines in a single spectrum. This information directly exposes the molecules tracing cold regions far from the star and the organic factory in close proximity toward the young star. I will argue that these latter
organics are potentially important as they will provide the foundation
for the developent of complexity in the planet-forming disk. If time allows
I will also discuss several efforts that use deuterium-bearing isotopes
of hydrogen and water to trace the origin of Earth’s oceans and set
new constraints on the uncertain mass available to form planetary systems.

NAI Director's Seminar Series

  • The Director’s Seminar series features talks from scientists who are invited by the NAI Director to present their research results to the community. A primary goal of the seminars is to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration across NAI teams and within the astrobiology community at large.
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