Laboratoire d’Études du Rayonnement et de la Matière en Astrophysique et Atmosphères

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Molecules in the Universe

Molecules, ubiquitous in our atmosphere and in space, are providing powerful tools for probing the physics and chemistry of many different environments. They provide important clues for major scientific objectives such as climatology and planetology, star and planet formation and the question of the origin of life.

The analysis of molecular radiation under various extreme conditions requires nowadays, a high level of knowledge in molecular science which has to support a wealth of observational data arising from new generation of telescopes, satellites and probes. In addition, molecular processes are at the cornerstone in the evolution of matter in space.

The thematic pole “Molecules in the Universe” aims at pushing forward the current theoretical and experimental limits in molecular science in order :
(1) to obtain fundamental molecular parameters with high degree of accuracy that are essential for probing and modelling complex media and
(2) to understand and predict - at atomic and molecular levels - an increasing number of unknown molecular processes.

This pole brings together research groups leader in quantum physics/chemistry, low temperature physics, chemical physics as well as surface science researchers. It includes complementary theoretical and experimental teams based at Paris (Jussieu Campus), Meudon and Cergy-Pontoise.

The pole aims at playing a major role at the interface between molecular and astrophysics & atmospheric sciences while being fully invested in fundamental molecular and chemical physics science.

This reserach group has long standing experience in multi-disciplinary approaches and is a major actor of “Laboratory Astrophysics” (http://www.labastro.eu/), a new European Networks engaged in fundamental experimental, interpretative and computational research and modelling.
The pole contributes to the establishment and management of widely-used atomic and molecular databases and data centres (http://www.vamdc.eu/).

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Séminaires à venir

Vendredi 3 avril 2020, 14h00
Salle de l'atelier, Paris
The great dimming of Betelgeuse in 2019-2020
KU Leuven, Institute of Astronomy
résumé :
Red supergiant stars are important contributors to the chemical enrichment of the Universe. Together with asymptotic giant branch stars, their lower mass counterpart, they contribute ~ 85% of gas and ~ 35% of dust to the total enrichment of the interstellar medium. Moreover, the stellar wind has a crucial impact on the final mass, hence on the nature of the compact remnant left after the supernova: a 20 solar mass star can loose up to 60% of its mass during its life. Yet the mechanism at the origin of the red supergiant mass loss remains unknown: there is no physical scenario to lift material from the photosphere up to the dust condensation zone where radiative pressure on small grains can drive the wind.

In November-December 2019, the prototypical red supergiant Betelgeuse started an impressive dimming that brought it to 37% of its average optical brightness in February 2020. It is dimmer than this star has been since quantitative magnitude measurements have been recorded (150 years). We have observed Betelgeuse at high angular resolution during this peculiar event with the VLT/SPHERE, VLTI/GRAVITY and VLTI/MATISSE instruments. I will present the first results of this multi-wavelength and multi-technique campaign and bring them in the context of the study of the red supergiant mass loss.
Vendredi 17 avril 2020, 14h00
Salle de l'atelier, Paris
Patricia TISSERA
Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chili
Vendredi 24 avril 2020, 14h00
Salle de l'atelier, Paris
Philippe ANDRE
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