G. Zasowski, D. P. Finkbeiner, G. M. Green, J. A. Kollmeier, D. M. Nataf, J. E. G. Peek, E. F. Schlafly, V. Silva Aguirre, J. S. Speagle, K. Tchernyshyov, J. D. Trujillo, C. Zucker
High-Dimensional Dust Mapping
See arXiv version
Submitted to the Astro2020 call for science white papers. 5 pages plus references, 1 figure
Galactic interstellar dust has a profound impact not only on our observations of objects throughout the Universe, but also on the morphology, star formation, and chemical evolution of the Galaxy. The advent of massive imaging and spectroscopic surveys (particularly in the infrared) places us on the threshold of being able to map the properties and dynamics of dust and the interstellar medium (ISM) in three dimensions throughout the Milky Way disk and bulge. These developments will enable a fundamentally new understanding of dust properties, including how grains respond to their local environment and how those environments affect dust attenuation of background objects of interest. Distance-resolved maps of dust motion also hold great promise for tracing the flow of interstellar material throughout the Galaxy on a variety of scales, from bar-streaming motions to the collapse and dissolution of individual molecular clouds. These advances require optical and infrared imaging of stars throughout the Galactic midplane, stretching many kiloparsecs from the Sun, matched with very dense spectroscopic coverage to probe the ISM’s fine-grained structure.