AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 25 Trails, Tails, Clouds and Shells: Dust from the Spitzer Perspective
Invited, Monday, 3:40-4:30pm, May 30, 2005, Ballroom B

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[25.01] Trails, Tails, Clouds and Shells: Dust from the Spitzer Perspective

C. E. Woodward (U. Minnesota)

The enrichment of the Universe by evolving stars is part of the story of our own origin, as the heavy elements and dust produced by stars are essential to the formation of Sun-like stars, Earth-like planets, and carbon-based life. Evolving stars deposit radiative and mechanical energy into their environments and enrich the ambient interstellar medium with elements synthesized in their interiors and dust grains condensed in their atmospheres. To effect this enrichment, stars must not only manufacture metals and dust, but convey this material into the surrounding space through mass outflows ranging in character from slow ''winds'' occurring over long time scales to explosive events such as supernovae. However, many aspects of this enrichment process (molecular formation, dust condensation, chemical abundance patterns) are shrouded from view in the optical by the very dust that forms in and around stellar outflows necessitating investigations at infrared wavelengths. Using data obtained from the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope during early stages of the mission, we will highlight new views of the enrichment cycle, ranging from the outflows of evolved stars to the primitive grains released from solar system comets.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #2
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.