California Science Center: Space Shuttle Endeavour with Mark Wolfire
Mark Wolfire's primary research interests are in galactic and extragalactic photodissociation regions (PDRs). PDRs are molecular or atomic (neutral) gas in which far-ultraviolet radiation plays a role in the chemistry and or heating. These can be atomic/molecular interfaces near regions of star formation or diffuse interstellar clouds illuminated by the average interstellar radiation field. Most of the atomic neutral gas in the Galaxy resides in PDRs and most of the IR line and continuum emission arises in PDR gas. Wolfire calculates the thermal balance and chemical equilibrium of the warm atomic/molecular layers and predicts the various infrared and submillimeter lines which can be used as diagnostics of the gas physical conditions and incident radiation field. The models have been used extensively by KAO, ISO and Herschel observers, and will be of great value to future ground and space missions including ALMA, SOFIA, and JWST. Models and diagnostic contour plots are available through a WEB tool (http://dustem.astro.umd.edu).
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