New Discoveries in the Galactic Neighborhood through Advances in Laboratory Astrophysics

Brickhouse, Nancy; Cowan, John; Drake, Paul; Federman, Steven; Ferland, Gary; Frank, Adam; Herbst, Eric; Olive, Keith; Salama, Farid; Savin, Daniel Wolf; Ziurys, Lucy

As the Galactic Neighborhood (GAN) panel is fully aware, the next decade will see major advances in our understanding of this area of research. To quote from their charge, these advances will occur in studies of the galactic neighborhood, including the structure and properties of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, and their stellar populations and evolution, as well as interstellar media and star clusters. Central to the progress in these areas are the corresponding advances in laboratory astrophysics that are required for fully realizing the GAN scientific opportunities within the decade 2010-2020. Laboratory astrophysics comprises both theoretical and experimental studies of the underlying physics and chemistry that produces the observed astrophysical processes. The 5 areas of laboratory astrophysics that we have identified as relevant to the GAN panel are atomic, molecular, solid matter, plasma, and nuclear physics. In this white paper, we describe in Section 2 some of the new scientific opportunities and compelling scientific themes that will be enabled by advances in laboratory astrophysics. In Section 3, we provide the scientific context for these opportunities. Section 4 briefly discusses some of the experimental and theoretical advances in laboratory astrophysics required to realize the GAN scientific opportunities of the next decade. As requested in the Call for White Papers, Section 5 presents four central questions and one area with unusual discovery potential. Lastly, we give a short postlude in Section 6.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Astrophysics Laboratory
Published Here
May 5, 2017


White paper submitted by the AAS Working Group on Laboratory Astrophysics (WGLA) to the Galactic Neighborhood (GAN) Science Frontiers Panel (SFP) of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey (Astro2010)