Events Calendar

Puzzle of the ERE in Interstellar Space, Dr. Adolf Witt

Thursday, April 20, 2017
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Physics & Astronomy Building (PAB)
Room: 100

Department of Physics and Astronomy


Dr. Adolf Witt

Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Toledo

“The Puzzle of the Extended Red Emission in Interstellar Space”


Once a mysterious interstellar radiative process, extended red emission (ERE) is now understood as the radiative signal of the electronic relaxation of a family of large, carbonaceous molecules or molecular ions after absorption of far-ultraviolet (FUV) photons under the collision-free conditions of interstellar space. In a process called recurrent fluorescence or Poincarè fluorescence, multiple low-energy optical photons are emitted from the energy provided by a single FUV photon, resulting in highly efficient optical luminescence and rapid cooling of the molecular ion. This process was demonstrated under terrestrial laboratory conditions for the first time in 2014. I will discuss the astronomical evidence derived from observations spanning four decades that has led to the identification of the ERE process. Work by several University of Toledo Physics and Astronomy graduate students provided the key findings that led to crucial evidence for recurrent fluorescence and the elimination of numerous alternative models.

STUDENTS – after the talk, you’re encouraged to return to the 2nd floor Atrium lounge to meet with the speaker.

COFFEE – coffee and cookies will be available in the 2nd floor Atrium lounge at 1:15 p.m.

CELL PHONES – as a courtesy to the speaker and audience, please set your cellphones to “silent” mode. Thanks!

Prof. E. Peeters
Jodi Guthrie - Assistant to the Chair
519-661-2111 ext. 86438
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