AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 11. Interstellar Medium - I
Display, Monday, January 7, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[11.02] The Local Interstellar Ultraviolet Radiation Field

R. C. Henry (JHU)

I have used the Hipparchos Input Catalog, together with Kurucz model stellar atmospheres, and information on the strength of the interstellar extinction, to create a model of the expected intensity and spectral distribution of the local interstellar ultraviolet radiation field, under various assumptions concerning the albedo a of the interstellar grains. (This ultraviolet radiation field is of particular interest because of the fact that ultraviolet radiation is capable of profoundly affecting the chemistry of the interstellar medium.) By comparing my models with the observations, I am able to conclude that the albedo of the interstellar grains in the far ultraviolet is very low, perhaps a = 0.1. I also advance arguments that my present determination of this albedo is much more reliable than any of the many previous (and conflicting) ultraviolet interstellar grain albedo determinations. Beyond this, I show that the ultraviolet background radiation that is observed at high galactic latitudes must be extragalactic in origin, as the present work demonstrates that it cannot be the backscatter of the interstellar radiation field.

This work was supported by the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Maryland Space Grant Consortium


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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: henry@jhu.edu

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