The Interstellar Medium
An active program of research into the composition of the interstellar medium exists at the UW-Madison Physics department. This includes efforts in both theory and observation.
Professor Don Cox heads the ISM Theory effort at Madison. His research interests are many,but his present work includes: modeling the Local Bubble surrounding our Solar System, modeling the evolution of supernova remnants, modeling spiral density waves as hydraulic jumps, to name only a few. Click on the picture to the right for further details on Don's interests and research.
The Diffuse X-ray Spectrometer instruments were flown on the STS-54 mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour in January of 1993. DXS obtained the first-ever spectra of the diffuse soft x-ray background in the energy band from 0.15 to 0.284 keV (wavelength 42 to 84 Angstroms).
This innovative class of Fourier Transform Spectrometer does not require mechanical scanning of mirrors or other components. A rocket-borne SHS instrument is being developed, with the goal of making an all-sky survey of emissions from the hot (100,000 K) component of the interstellar medium (ISM). The lines of interest, which act as tracers of the hot gas, are emitted by triply-ionized carbon, or CIV, in a doublet at 1548-1550 Angstroms.
On June 3rd, 1996, the X-ray Quantum Calorimeter was launched from White Sands Missle Range, New Mexico. This flight obtained the first high-resolution, wide-bandwidth spectrum of the ISM. The instrument consists of an array of 36 microcalorimeters which measure the heat deposited by individual x-rays. In order to work effectively, these detectors run at 60mK, making this the coldest payload ever launched into space.
Last modified by Bradford Benson on August,7 1997.