Subproject B9: A Gaia-Based Three-Dimensional Dust Map of the Galaxy
Coryn Bailer-Jones (MPIA)
Interstellar dust plays an important role in life cycle of stars and in modifying (absorbing) the light that we receive from astronomical sources. Inferring the 3-D distribution of this dust in our Galaxy is a crucial task both to understand the 3-D geometry of the ISM and to extinction-correct observations of stars. Some of the preparatory work was carried out in subproject A3 during the first funding period as a by-product of the calibration of the Pan-STARRS survey. Significant limitations in previous studies were the lack of accurate distances and an independent treatment of lines-of-sight. We will construct maps that address both of these problems by (1) using extinction measurements towards tens of millions of stars with distances accurately determined by Gaia, and (2) using more sophisticated probabilistic techniques to link lines-of-sight and infer the dust opacity where observations are absent.